Family of man killed in Vets Expressway crash say he impacted countless young lives

Jesus Lanzo, Carlos Perez killed early Saturday
Posted at 5:51 PM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-24 18:04:57-04

We're learning more about the two men who died in a fiery weekend crash on the Veterans Expressway in Tampa.

Friends Jesus Lanzo and Carlos Angler Quinones Perez died, after troopers say a drunk driver slammed into their car. The impact was so intense, Lanzo's car burst into flames.  

"He was a great loving father, husband, and friend," said Glorimar Lanzo, Jesus' wife.

Glorimar Lanzo choked back tears describing her husband, Jesus Lanzo. She says he had an infectious smile, bubbly personality, and never met a stranger.

"He'd say hi, give them a hug or say, 'I love you.' He was just extremely loving, extremely loving," Lanzo said.

That love was evident to Chaplain Andre Williams. He just got to know Jesus a few weeks ago, and was blown away by his faith and compassion. Jesus volunteered alongside Andre at a juvenile justice facility in Tampa.

"I've never quite gotten that feeling of passion, that just jumps off of a young man, the way I did with Jesus. It was just really breathtaking," Williams said.

He knows dozens of young men, will be forever changed from hearing Jesus' testimony.

"I believe the Lord gave him something special, and even in his loss, there will be great gains," said Williams.

His widow is overwhelmed with those stories, which are offering her some comfort as she grieves.

"It keeps me strong and it helps me, having that, because it makes me feel like he's here with me, too," said Lanzo.

But her two children, and Jesus' teenage daughter are now without a father. And his passenger, Carlos Perez, also leaves behind a wife and two kids.  

Glorimar Lanzo now has a message for the alleged drunk driver, Anwar Askar, who is still hospitalized and facing charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.

"I just want him to pay for what he did. It's not fair that he could roam the streets and my children won't see their father again. It's just not fair," Lanzo said.

ABC Action News has learned Askar has inquired about potential diplomatic immunity in the case.  A state department spokesperson issued the following statement about that:

“The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the incident and have been in contact with the U.S. State Department to learn about the man’s diplomatic status.

The U.S. Department of State is working closely with the local authorities concerning this incident.  The case is currently under investigation, and we are in the process of reviewing the validity of the alleged assertion of diplomatic immunity with respect to this case.

The Department does not have any information indicating the involvement of anyone in this matter who is entitled to diplomatic or consular immunity.”

Meanwhile, Jesus' faith is also continuing to have a profound impact. Two of his family members decided to get baptized at a Tampa church this weekend.

Lanzo's family is hoping to have a memorial service in Tampa, followed by burial in his home country of Puerto Rico.  A Go Fund Me page has been set up by his wife to help pay for final expenses. You can donate here.