Campus remembers student Ivan Tapia-Solis with candlelight vigil

Sonoma State University is mourning the loss of one of its students this week. Ivan Tapia-Solis, 21, died last Monday in a car crash on Petaluma Hill Road. Tapia-Solis was driving a Honda Civic around 2:45 a.m. on Monday when reports say he may have fallen asleep at the wheel. He died in the ambulance while en route to the hospital shortly after the crash. 

There were two other passengers in the car during the crash. Edgar Ortiz, 20, was killed during the crash and Jesus Cardenas, 19, was severely injured. Cardenas suffered a concussion and broken collarbone and was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where he is currently residing. 

Tapia-Solis was a senior, Hutchins major and was studying to become a math teacher. In his free time he worked at Starbucks and held a management position. Tapia-Solis resided in Santa Rosa with his family. Ariana Reed, a friend and former coworker of Ivan’s, said that he was one of the kindest people she had ever met.

“I will always miss his kind-heartedness and how hard he worked for his goals. He was always able to bring a smile to anyone’s face that he came in contact with and that will forever be missed,” said Reed. 

Friends described Tapia-Solis as a kind, friendly person that was always up for an adventure. Taylor Bonilla, a friend of the victim since their freshman year at Sonoma State, said that he was a very dependable person.

“He was that person you knew that if you needed anything you could go to him. He was always willing to hang out and be there for you,” said Bonilla. 

There have been many accidents that have occurred on Petaluma Hill Road over recent months. During the past six months there have been three major car wrecks in the same approximate location as this most recent one. Petaluma Hill Road is narrow and dark, especially at night, so always use caution when navigating this road. 

Some tips to stay alert and avoid drowsiness behind the wheel include getting plenty of rest the night before a long trip (at least six hours), scheduling a break approximately every two hours or every 100 miles during a trip and stop driving if you become fatigued. Being tired impacts reaction time, judgment and vision, causing people who are very tired to behave in similarly to those who are drunk while driving.

This Wednesday, members of the Alpha Psi Fraternity will be hosting a vigil to remember Tapia-Solis. Chris Whalen, a member of Alpha Psi Fraternity, approached Bonilla with the idea for the vigil and the fraternity offered to take care of all the costs thus far. 

“I’m so glad that he had people here at Sonoma State that cared about him and were willing to step up. That shows you the kind of community we have here,” said Bonilla. “He wasn’t a part of the fraternity; he didn’t know them as well. But when a Sonoma State student passes away we all come together.”

The vigil will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Stevenson Quad. There will be a lighted path in candles to lead you to the event. Each person will receive a candle and there will be posters for all the attendees to sign. The posters will then be given to his family and the Hutchins Department to be displayed. 

Bonilla began passing out green ribbons and wristbands to remember Tapia-Solis. The ribbons and wristbands will be green, honoring Tapia-Solis’ favorite color. If you would like any more information about Wednesday’s vigil, please visit the Facebook event page at facebook.com.