DALLAS — Ethan Vasquez died Tuesday when a stolen van that had been fleeing police crashed into his mother's car.
The accident happened in Dallas, about halfway between the Vasquez home and the school for talented and gifted students that 13-year-old Ethan attended.
Grief hung in the air at William B. Travis Academy as the news of his death reverberated.
"It's like one big family," said Ramon Nelson, the father of a seventh grade student who was Ramon's classmate. "My daughter loves this school."
"He was just full of life, a smart, intelligent boy," said Ethan's uncle as he hurried into Baylor University Medical Center not long after the crash.
Sandy Vasquez was apparently taking her son Ethan to school Tuesday morning at Travis Academy, a school for talented and gifted Dallas ISD students. Around 8:30, a stolen minivan that had been fleeing Highland Park police ran a stop sign and crashed into them.
Police had stopped the pursuit blocks away because of traffic and the van's erratic driving, but witnesses said the van kept driving at a high rate of speed.
The crash happened a few blocks from the Vasquez home, and not far from Travis Academy on McKinney Avenue.
Ethan was killed almost instantly. His mother survived with critical injuries, undergoing more than one surgery Tuesday afternoon and evening.
Sandy's husband and Ethan's father is a Cedar Hill police officer. Members of that city's police and fire forces came to the hospital to be with him.
DISD dispatched a grief counselor to Travis and sent a letter home to parents, suggesting how they can help their children cope with the loss.
Ethan's death is the first involving a current student in the 14 years Travis has been a talented and gifted academy.
"It's a terrible loss right here for the classmates. My condolences go out to the family," Nelson said. "I do hope they catch the guys that did it."
The suspects ran from the scene and had not been found Tuesday night.
Grief counselors will return to Travis on Wednesday. Ethan had been a DISD student his entire school career. He was one of four students at Travis who had been classmates since they were in pre-kindgergarten.