MODESTO (CBS13) – A small memorial made with flowers has been set up on the corner in a Modesto neighborhood to remember the spot where a Modesto man was hit and killed.
Modesto police say 34-year-old Jesus Lemus hit and killed a Modesto man just before midnight on the fourth of July.READ MORE: Deadly Hit-And-Run Crash Has El Camino Avenue Overpass Closed; Business 80 Open
The victim was identified by family members as 20-year-old Ephraim Estrada.
“One minute you’re watching them do fireworks, the next minute he’s lying on the street dead,” said Ruth Rocha, who explains she heard a loud bang outside of her window just before midnight and knew it wasn’t fireworks.
“My daughter and myself ran out there. The kid was already laying in the middle of the street,” she said.
Police say that Estrada, identified by his family, was killed by a drunk driver.
“Right away started doing CPR. He had no pulse. We tried and tried and tried. It was really sad,” said Rocha.
Jesus Lemus was behind the wheel, according to Modesto police, and also had his 12-year-old child in the back seat.READ MORE: Sacramento’s Solid Waste Fees Going Up Due To New State Composting Mandate
“A car just came from around and didn’t stop. He knew he hit someone and just kept going,” said Rocha
Eventually turning himself in to police, Lemus told officers he was distracted by fireworks while driving down Burney Street.
“They were out in the road doing the fireworks,” said Rocha.
“He was just a kid who loved life,” said Estrada’s Aunt, Fannie Ybarra.
She said the sudden death of her nephew is a tragedy for the entire family.
“They’re all devastated; his mom is devastated; his brother is devastated; his sister’s devastated — everyone is just in shock,” said Ybarra. “I love you, Ephraim. I know you are with Jesus. You’re dancing the streets of heaven.”
CBS13 reached out to the Modesto Police Department for more information about the role fireworks may have played in this incident. We have not yet heard back.MORE NEWS: Old Peach Tree Mall Building In Linda Demolished After History Of Flood And Fire
The driver was charged with DUI, manslaughter, and child abuse, likely for having his 12-year-old child in the car at the time.