By Angela Musallam

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A young Sacramento man who brought so much joy to the Zocalo family restaurants, is now being mourned.
24-year-old Antonio Navarrete was a bartender at Zocalo on Howe Avenue.

He was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver at the intersection of El Camino Avenue and Evergreen Street.

It’s a different vibe inside Zocalo, especially for Kelsey Byers, behind the bar.

“I worked with him Friday night, he worked Saturday afternoon so it was like ‘see you later, love you guys’,” Byers said.

Byers is a bartender. She would often work alongsideAntonio Navarrete. She had no idea Friday night would be the last time she would see him.

“There will be a hole left where he filled it, he really left a big impact on all of us,” Byers added

Navarrete ended his shift at Zocalo Friday night and was driving home when Sacramento police say 38-year-old Xoury Soukouang drove right into him.

A memorial at El Camino Avenue and Evergreen Street marks where Navarrete passed away. Soukouang is suspected of-of driving under the influence. He is now being held on $350,000 bail.

“I know he’s not here, but he’ll always be behind our bar he’s always here,” said Sasha Sayers, another co-worker.

Sayers says Zocalo isn’t the same without Navarrete, a cheerful and happy young man, who she says brought so much love and energy to the restaurant. Zocalo is now dedicating a margarita after him, called “La Sonrisa”, Spanish for “smile”.

“He always had the biggest grin on his face,” Sayers said.

A ray of light, now dimmed. Navarrete’s presence, never forgotten by his Zocalo family.

“Every time I’ll walk through those doors I’ll think of him and he will be here with us every day, I’ll try to be the light he was and carry that every day,” Byers said.

All proceeds from “La Sonrisa” will go to help Navarrete’s funeral costs and family.

The suspect will be back in court on May 29.


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