Euless classmates remember 13-year-old killed in New Mexico crash

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by MARCUS MOORE and TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 31 at 7:54 PM

EULESS -- Hundreds of students gathered at Euless Junior High School to honor 13-year-old Andrew "Lolo" Uhatafe.

The incoming 9th grader was one of three people killed in a single-vehicle rollover accident in New Mexico over the weekend.

One by one, his classmates and teachers shared stories about the young man who managed to touch a number of lives through his good nature and smile.

"We're going to hurt for a long time not having him here," said Lamar Kirk, the athletic director at the school.

They all described Uhatafe as a dedicated athlete and student, but most of all, "a good kid."

His 5th grade math teacher, Ralena Stanton, also spoke.

"He made coming to class fun," she said. "I love him from the bottom of my heart."

Several members of Uhatafe's family were in the audience as people spoke for nearly an hour-and-a-half Wednesday. Administrators said it was meant to be a time for students come to together at a time when most are apart for the summer.

During the upcoming football season, each of his teammates will wear No. 3 on their helmets in honor of Lolo.

His football locker was on display and students left notes remembering the teen. The notes will be given to his family on a later date.

The other two people killed in the crash were 19-year-old Polo Manukainiu and 18-year-old Gaius Vaenuku.

Salesi Uhatafe Jr., an 18-year-old incoming freshman football player for the University of Utah, and his father, Salesi Uhatafe Sr., both suffered minor injuries in the crash. They are both related to Manukainiu and Uhatafe.

Family members said they plan to accompany the bodies back to Texas.

According to New Mexico State Police, Uhatafe Jr. was driving at the time of the accident. Police said the crash occurred as the vehicle drifted off the road and Uhatafe Jr. over-corrected, sending the vehicle rolling several times.

The group was traveling to Texas after a weekend trip in Utah, according to Uhatafe Jr.'s Twitter account.

E-mail mmoore@wfaa.com

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