YUBA CITY (CBS13) — Garrett Ward's heart is heavy with the loss of player he coached for seven years, 13-year-old Alec Flores.
"Alec could've been good at anything he put his mind to. He was a tough, talented individual and his life got cut short," Ward said. "It's hard because I feel like I lost a kid too you know?"
Yuba City police said Flores was killed in a hit and run as he was walking to school Monday morning. The suspect in this incident, Constance Addison, was under the influence at the time.
Ward says he's outraged and is wondering why the woman accused of killing Flores is allowed to go home to her family, knowing the 13-year-old can no longer go home to his.
"I just don't understand how this woman can be released after you've taken my player's life, my friend's son's life, because of your irresponsibility," Ward said.
Ward said Flores holds a special place in his heart.
"Every day after practice he always came up to me, he gave me a hug and I told him 'I love you, buddy.' I always called him 'mijo,'" Ward said.
He told CBS13 he'll hold on to those hugs forever.
"Yeah, I'd give anything to have one more hug from that little boy. And I know Luis would too and Tara," Ward said.
Some of his friends at Franklin Elementary remember Flores for who he was off the football field.
"He was pretty wacky. He knew how to make laugh in the snap of a finger," Bella Greylock said.
"We give each other books and stuff. And I still have two books from him. He has a book for me. I'm just happy I have at least something from him," Alexis Graham said.
People who didn't even know Alec came to honor the teen with a bright future at a memorial at the intersection of Franklin and Lyndsey.
"How he always talked about 'oh I want to go to River Valley and play football there and want to follow other people's footsteps and go to college' and all that," Graham said. "He was always wanting to do that and it's sad he can't."
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