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Soccer Team Attempting to Raise Money for Funeral : Mourning: Members of Burbank Red Machine have set up trust fund to help teammate who lost mother, brother in freeway crash.

August 30, 1995|NICHOLAS RICCARDI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SUN VALLEY — As members of the Burbank Red Machine boys soccer club worked on dribbling downfield and shooting goals at their regular practice Tuesday night, they also worried about how to raise money to aid a teammate who lost his mother and younger brother in a weekend car crash.

Miriam Patricia Lima and her 6-year-old son, Carlos, died after the Sunday morning crash on the San Diego Freeway near Huntington Beach, when their Toyota was rear-ended as it carried the Los Angeles family to a soccer match in Irvine. Red Machine member Allof Lima, 13, and his father, Charles, were also injured in the crash, which was witnessed by a vanload of Red Machine members riding behind the Lima family.

Charles and Allof Lima have been released from the Orange County hospital where they were treated, but friends say Charles Lima is so heartbroken he won't return to the family's Los Angeles apartment.

"He can't bear it," said Blanca Marco, the mother of another member of the Red Machine. "Can you imagine--your whole family dissolved in the blink of an eye?"

The surviving members of the Lima family want to bury Patricia and Carlos in their native Guatemala but don't have the funds, Marco said.

That's where the Red Machine comes in. Members of the under-14 boys team and their parents have started a trust fund for the family at the Sun Valley branch of Bank of America and are brainstorming other ways to raise money, such as a carwash.

"We're still kids and everything, we all argue," said 13-year-old Jesse Servin, a member of the Red Machine. "But when we're outside the field, we all take care of each other, like a family."

The Red Machine's tournaments are like extended family outings, and the Lima family was a common sight. While Allof raced up and down the field, little Carlos would enthusiastically dribble a soccer ball on the sidelines with the other younger brothers. Carlos idolized Allof, friends said.

"Everywhere [Allof] would go, he would follow," Jesse Servin said.

Miriam Lima would accompany her sons to the games. Charles Lima also loved to see his son play, but was frequently stuck at work. On Sunday, he got a day off from his job at Alamo Rent A Car to drive the family to Irvine, Marco said.

But his car stalled in the freeway's car-pool lane and was hit by a van carrying a Palos Verde family to the same tournament, officials said. The Lima car spun and smashed into two others before coming to a rest. Miriam Lima, trapped inside, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Carlos was taken to a nearby hospital in a coma. He died early Monday.

Most of the Red Machine saw the accident and lingered on the shoulder of the freeway, trying to help.

Later that day the team took the field at UC Irvine and asked for a minute of silence, dedicating their game to the Lima family.

They won, 4-0.

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