Friends gather to remember Beaver Dam River crash victim

April 6, 2019

Jared Frakes’ mother and dozens of his friends gathered Friday to share memories of the 23-year-old at the site in downtown Beaver Dam where he lost his life earlier in the week.

“He was very friendly and outgoing,” said Terry Frakes, speaking on the bridge over the Beaver Dam River at the intersection of Ryan Cantafio’s Way and Madison Street, where the vehicle Jared was riding in lost control and went into the river in the early-morning hours Tuesday. “He had so many, many friends. He was full of life and on the go all the time.”

Frakes said Jared’s love for his son Jordan was evident everyday. Jordan, who will be turning 3 on May 12, was at the bridge for the memorial on Friday. Friends gathered with balloons, candles and photos of Jared.

Frakes was a passenger in an SUV that careened off the bridge and landed upside down in the river. Cindy Lara Esparza, Jared’s girlfriend who was driving the vehicle, was rescued by first responders, but they could not get to Jared in time to save him.

“I want to thank the community,” Frakes said. “The fire department and police did a beautiful job and had to do some quick thinking.”

Frakes said she has been getting a lot of support from many people in the community and have heard from a lot of people that they knew Jared.

Jared spent his first year traveling around the country in his father’s semi, Frakes said. They decided make their home in Beaver Dam 22 years ago on Maple Avenue, and Frakes said she stayed there until the the day before her son died.

Keaton Lyon said he went to the bridge because Jared was a friend.

“He’s just a fun kid and was really rambunctious,” Lyon said. “He really cared for Jordan as well and treated his friends like he would like to be treated.”

Lara Esparza received non-life-threatening injuries from the accident. She attended the memorial on Friday and placed photos of Jared on the bridge.

Micah Wright said Jared Frakes was his best friend.

“He will forever be my best friend,” Wright said.

Beaver Dam Police Chief John Kreuziger said speed and alcohol were factors in the accident, and Lara Esparza will face charges, though none have been filed yet by the Dodge County District Attorney’s Office. Investigation of the crash continues.

Beaver Dam Police officers responded to the intersection of Madison Street and Ryan Cantafio’s Way at around 1:52 a.m. Tuesday after receiving a 911 Kreuziger said the SUV was traveling north on Madison Street and went through the guardrail before striking the wall behind Park Plaza Pizza, 1605 Front St., flipping over and landing upside down in the river.

There were three accidents at that section of the bridge in 2010 and 2011.