He came to Turlock to start a new life. A fiery crash ended his dream

Naramsen Edward Kelyana’s family is heartbroken and still in shock three days after the 28-year-old Turlock man died in a fiery crash on his way home from work.

Papiola Aghassi, Kelyana’s friend and former employer, everyone who knew the young is reeling from his tragic death. “He truly enjoyed his life that was taken from him,” Aghassi said.

The California Highway Patrol has arrested Alejandro Valdovinos, 18, of Hayward, who was driving a 2017 Ford Mustang that crashed into Kelyana’s 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Sunday morning on West Main Avenue and South Carpenter Road.

CHP investigators suspect Valdovinos was driving under the influence of alcohol when the Mustang rear-ended the Cruze that had stopped for a stop sign at the intersection. There were no signs that Valdovinos applied the brakes on the Mustang before it struck the Cruze, the CHP said.

Kelyana was pronounced dead at scene. Authorities have not officially released his name; due to severe burns Kelyana suffered they are using dental records to verify his identity. They were still awaiting results Wednesday afternoon.

Aghassi said Kelyana’s family was too overwhelmed emotionally to speak publicly on Wednesday.

“The family is devastated,” she said. “They’re still in shock.”

His family asked Aghassi to speak on their behalf. She said Kelyana, his parents, his older brother and his twin sister are an Assyrian refugee family from Iraq who settled in Turlock about four years ago. They have relatives who were already living in the area.

Kelyana initially worked for Aghassi for nearly two years at her Turlock pizza parlor, Jura’s Pizza Parlor. She said he was a hard worker who learned fast.

“Every task I gave him, he excelled at it,” she said.


Kelyana eventually left his job at the pizza parlor and was hired at the Amazon fulfillment center in Patterson. He was driving home from that job when the crash occurred. Aghassi said Kelyana was excited about working for Amazon, a job he had held for about a year and half.

“He was so happy he was able to provide for his family,” said Aghassi. Kelyana was not married and did not have any children.

Aghassi said Kelyana was an easy-going and humble man, who didn’t take anything for granted.

“He appreciated everything that was given to him,” she said. “He appreciated the new life he was starting here.”

Valdovinos was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing injury or death. Enrique Valdovinos, 19, of Turlock was a passenger in the Mustang and suffered severe abdominal injuries in the crash.

Rosalio Ahumada: 209-578-2394, @ModBeeCourts