Most Viewed Stories
Curry: "Just the nicest guy in the world"
PC player killed in accident remembered
Everyone who talks about Tyler Curry all say the same thing: He always had a smile on his face.
“Just the nicest guy in the world,” said Porterville College pitching coach Ben Walkowiak about Curry, who was killed in a vehicle accident on Friday. Curry, 18, was a freshman relief pitcher for the PC baseball team and Walkowiak said it was a pleasure to coach him.
“He’s just one of the guys you love to have,” said Walkowiak about the 2011 Monache graduate. “You can’t say anything bad about him. He’s just one of the hardest workers, loved the game. He did it 100 percent, no questions asked. He’s just the ultimate team guy.”
Walkowiak recalled just this week how Curry demonstrated his work ethic, saying even though Curry was “half asleep,” he showed up for a optional weight training session at 7 a.m. Wednesday. Walkowiak also talked about Curry’s competiveness in a game against Merced College, on the state’s top teams.
With the bases loaded and one out, Curry came on to face one of the Central Valley Conference’s best players and got out of the inning without allowing any runs, helping PC earn an 8-6 win.
“Just one of the kids that really made our job of coaching fun,” PC baseball coach Jake Kiser said. “He was the definition of what junior college is about.”
Michael Halopoff, a 2011 Monache graduate who played baseball with Curry at Monache and is now attending College of the Sequoias, said Curry always had a positive attitude. “He’s a great kid,” Halopoff said. “He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever known. He was one of the best teammates. He was always encouraging. I loved him as a person. I wished more people were like him.”
The PC baseball team had last week off for spring break and its first scheduled practice when it returns is on Tuesday. PC is scheduled to return to play a doubleheader against Ventura College, beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday at Pirate Stadium, but a decision has yet to be made if those games will be played as scheduled.
“We are definitely saddened for our tragic loss,” PC athletic director Eric Mendoza said. “Tyler was an outstanding young man full of promise.”
Mendoza said the school’s thoughts are with the family. “Porterville College and our community will be there to support them through this difficult time,” Mendoza said.
Curry was always around to help, Mendoza said, noting that he served as a statistician for PC basketball games. “Tyler was very popular in our PC athletic family. Always had a smile and was a friend to everybody. Our focus is supporting Tyler’s family and the baseball team.”
Mendoza said Miles Vega, a PC counselor and faculty member who has experience in grief counseling, will be available for students who need counseling.
Curry was killed in a vehicle accident on his way to watching the Monache-Tulare Union baseball game. The California Highway Patrol reported that Curry was the driver of a 2004 Mercury Sable. Danny Martinez, 19, of Porterville, was also a passenger in the vehicle.
Curry was heading west on Avenue 184 at an undetermined speed, the CHP reported. A 2004 Freightliner driven by Jarod Warren, 39, of Porterville, was heading south on Road 208 at about 50 miles an hour, the CHP stated.
Curry proceeded through a stop sign on Avenue 184 at Road 208 and collided with the Freightliner, the CHP said. Curry, 18, was airlifted to Fresno Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
As of Saturday morning, Martinez was at Kaweah Delta Hospital with serious injuries. Warren received minor injuries and wasn’t taken to the hospital. Curry, Martinez and Warren were all wearing seat belts.
While it can’t be definitely determined if it was a contributing factor to the accident, Curry and Martinez were heading to the Monache-Tulare Union game that began at 7 p.m. and would have been proceeding through the intersection at about the time the sun sets, making visibility difficult.