PARLIER, Calif. (KFSN) -- A memorial service was held Friday evening in Parlier for a 9-year-old boy who was hit and killed by a car on Thursday. Diego Estrada's family gave Action News a photo of the elementary school student before the service started at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church.
The memorial for the 9-year-old boy hit and killed in an early morning crash continues to grow, while students in Parlier grapple with the loss of Diego, whose walk to school would be his last.
"I think children in general have a difficult time accepting death. And it is always, always very difficult to lose someone that you know, especially someone that you go to school with, a peer," said licensed therapist Blanca Alvarez.
It was foggy and wet that morning, which is why the students weren't at school in the first place. Everyone was forced to walk or find a ride other than a school bus because of a delayed foggy day schedule, according to Parlier police, which is what Diego, his sister and a friend were doing when they were hit by a truck.
"Based on weather alone, the wet conditions on the roadway, what took place could be a freak accident," said Parlier Police Sgt. Thomas Rodriguez.
The 17-year-old driver, who police haven't identified because he's a minor, was driving without a license that fateful morning. Witnesses say the teen driver wasn't speeding or driving recklessly but he could be charged with vehicular manslaughter if the district attorney so chooses. For now, he's only been cited for driving without a license.
As for the parents of the driver? "As far as criminally there's not much we can do unless the parents knew that he did take the vehicle at the time," said Rodriguez. And even then, investigators say the parents could only face an infraction.
There was another passenger in the truck who ran away from the crash, and investigators are still trying to track him down. Meanwhile, Diego's family is preparing for a funeral.
Youth Centers of America has set up a GoFundMe account to help raise funds for Diego's family. Donations can be made by clicking on this link: www.gofundme.com/l4qbrc. The organization is also accepting donations at its office located at 580 Tulare Street in Parlier.
Parlier boy fatally struck by car remembered
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