Standing room only at memorial for young hit-and-run victim

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by LAUREN ZAKALIK

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaalauren

WFAA

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 24 at 9:54 AM

DALLAS — Images and sounds of a giggly, vibrant, video-game loving teenager played on a screen at the Grove Hill Funeral Home in Dallas Wednesday night.

Below that screen, an open casket held the body of 13-year-old Ethan Vasquez.

“I have no words to express the loss our family is suffering at the moment,” said his father, Cedar Hill police Officer Victor Vasquez.

It was standing-room only at the memorial for the Travis Academy seventh-grader. He was killed last week in a hit-and-run accident as his mom Sandy drove him to school.

Just hours before the memorial, she was finally released from the hospital. She sat in a wheelchair as — one-by-one — nineteen of Ethan’s classmates paid tribute to their friend.

The loss and regret was obviously painful for some of the youngsters.

“I never took the time to ask how he was doing or to see what game he was playing,” said one student, fighting back tears.

At Ethan's school, the movement to memorialize him grows. Each day in the front office, kids are slipping ideas into a box about how to proceed. Ideas include planting a tree or creating a bench.

The PTA president says the school has raised $5,000 so far.

During the memorial, Ethan’s brother Christian said he will never be the same.

“I learned as much from him as he did from me, and I looked up to him as much as he to me,” he said.

Ethan’s funeral is underway at Lakeside Baptist Church in Dallas. Go here to watch WFAA's live stream.

E-mail lzakalik@wfaa.com

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