PARLIER, Calif. (KFSN) -- Final goodbyes Friday afternoon for a 9-year-old boy in Parlier. Police say Diego Estrada died after being hit by an unlicensed driver.
A full escort followed Diego Estrada's little casket into Our Lady of Sorrows. Grief could be felt deep inside the standing room only church. School leaders, friends, neighbors and family watched, while a father held up a grieving mother, and strangers comforted each other.
Diego's death has touched this community. Perhaps it was the way it happened, perhaps it's because it's a life taken too soon. Either way, people like Thomas Ortega, who didn't even know the child, came here because he felt he needed to. He said, "I feel sorry for his family, the loss of the little boy; that's one of the worst things for a mother especially."
Police say Diego was walking to school when a 17-year-old, who was driving without a license, lost control. He struck Diego, his sister and another child. Diego died from the impact. Blanca Polanco was his babysitter and a close friend of the family. She told us in Spanish that the boy "was a beautiful and precious child who played a lot and loved to smile."
Polanco was with Diego's mom when she got the call. She said, "If you can imagine -- he's the son of my dear friends and he meant everything to them."
She says he meant everything to her as well. While the community buries a young life, the teen driver is facing vehicular manslaughter charges. We're told even more charges could be filed as the investigation isn't over. But none of that will bring Diego back.
The Parlier Police Department and local youth organizations have joined forces to collect donations on behalf of the family.
Donations can be made to the Diego Estrada Memorial Fund at Bank of the West branches Valley-wide.
Funeral held for Parlier boy hit, killed by truck
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