California Firefighter Mourned a Year Later

Mario Cunha first met Jesse Casillas while they were showing off their customized Honda Civics at local car shows almost 15 years ago.

He said he holds no personal animosity against Zarco, though he and other firefighters believe Zarco received a light sentence. She could have been sent to prison for four years.

During the sentencing hearing for Zarco, Casillas told the judge he believes she should be penalized with prison time for leaving the scene of an accident and for driving without a license.

"Accidents happen," he said. "The one thing I know for sure is that Mario was doing what he loved when it happened. He died an honorable death."

Service planned today A memorial vigil to celebrate Mario Cunha's life will be at 4 p.m. today at the Soledad fire station, 525 Monterey St. The event is planned as a celebration of Mario's life, said Soledad Fire Chief Jesse Casillas. A memorial plaque also will be dedicated in Cunha's honor. The vigil is sponsored by the Soledad Firefighters Association.