People grieving for Alec Flores, the 13-year-old who was killed earlier this week by a suspected hit-and-run driver, Wednesday visited a roadside memorial of flowers, balloons and messages.
Imani Thiara, 12, and her brother, Ekram, 10, brought flowers and paid their respects along with several others near the site of the accident on Franklin Road near Lindsey Lane in Yuba City.
“He always walked this route to school every day and was a really sweet person,” Imani Thiara said. “He was always happy, always tried to make everyone’s day better and I feel terrible for his family.”
The Flores family released a statement about their loss.
“We are heartbroken by the loss of our Alec, and the tragic way his life was taken. He was truly a special young man; his energy filled any room he entered. He was goofy, loving, and passionate about life, his family and his hobbies. Among his favorites were football and wrestling. Alec is a loved son, brother, nephew, cousin, friend, and teammate. His is a life lost too soon. He will be dearly missed, but we will keep him close in our hearts forever.”
Live Oak residents Jennifer Carillo and Lupe Sanchez felt compelled to visit the site, to bring some flowers and say a prayer.
“I didn’t know him but being a mother, this is really heartbreaking,” Carillo said.
Franklin Elementary School District’s principal and superintendent Lisa Shelton said they’re working with students and staff to help them cope with the tragedy.
“In addition to the Franklin School counselor, additional counselors were brought in from several different agencies throughout the county to help provide counseling services to staff and students struggling from this very tragic accident,” Shelton said. “Counselors were in place Tuesday morning and support will be provided throughout the rest of the week.”
Yuba City Police Lt. Jim Runyen said Flores was walking by himself when he was struck by a vehicle allegedly driven by Constance Addison. Witnesses assisted Flores until first responders arrived.
“She (Addison) was charged with felony hit and run, gross vehicular manslaughter, child endangerment and DUI causing injury,” Runyen said. “She was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, toxicology reports pending.”
Runyen didn’t know the ages of the children in Addison’s car at the time of the incident
The Rev. Garrett Andrew, with St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, posted on Facebook about the loss and the ripple effect on the community.
“You know people are in pain, and chances are you are in pain,” he said. “I sat with a friend of his this afternoon who recounted how he stood up for her when no one else would, how he was the kind of friend she needed when she felt all alone. I sat with his preschool teacher, because he was a student at Joyful Noise and heard a bit about his family. I see the people who are heart-broken and angry and looking for answers.”
Andrew said people are often looking for answers following a tragedy but sometimes, there are none.
“I have none to give. Two families have been broken, one in ways that are unimaginably awful,” he said. “I can say that as I sat crying with a family today I heard beautiful stories, and that I know no tragedy can extinguish the beauty of a life lived well enough to ensure that at least one other person can say her life is better for Alec having lived.”