Family mourns Fresno man killed by hit-and-run driver on Christmas

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A family is reeling from the loss of a loved one after a driver took a man's life the day after Christmas.

Fresno Police say 25-year-old Jesse Lazalde was hit and killed as he was crossing Golden State near Church.

A giant cross stands where Lazalde was killed.

His loved ones shed tears and comfort each as they desperately try to cope with the pain.

"He said I promise you I'll be right back. He never came back," Julia Bracamonte, his sister-in-law, says.

His dad, Jesse Gonzalez, says, "That just tore me apart."

Christmas Day was the last time Gonzales saw his son.

He never imagined he would be saying goodbye forever.

"I always give him advice when he leaves - 'Hey mijo, be careful, be careful where you go, what you do, this and that', and he turned around, gave me a big hug and he said, 'I love you dad'."

Fresno Police say Lazalde was crossing Golden State near Church a little before three in the morning.

That's when someone driving a Chevy Silverado double cab with an ATV in its truck bed hit and killed him.

Bracamonte says this wasn't supposed to happen - he was supposed to be with her.

"He texted me at two in the morning saying I'm sorry sis, I didn't come back. Then he texted me a picture of himself and that was just a few minutes before he passed," she says.

Witnesses tell police the truck driver slowed down, but then sped off.

"To take off and leave him on the side of the road, it's just cold-blooded," says Gonzalez.

Family members say Lazalde lost his mom when he was just 7 years old and it was tough.

As painful as the loss of Lazalde is for family, they take a little comfort knowing he is now with his mother.

"His mom must have just asked God for him back and I can't be mad at his mom for wanting him back," says Bracamonte.

Police continue to search for the driver of the truck.

If you wish to help the family with their expenses, click here.
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