YUBA CITY -- A Yuba City teenage boy died Tuesday morning after police said he was struck by a suspected drunken driver as he walked to school on Monday.
The Yuba City Police Department said 13-year-old Alec Flores was walking along Franklin Road near Lindsey Lane just after 8 a.m. when he was struck by a vehicle.
Police arrested the driver, 37-year-old Constance Addison, who officers said took off following the wreck.
"The driver swerved out of her lane of traffic and struck the pedestrian, left the scene, and she's been arrested for suspicion of being under the influence as well," said Yuba City Police Lt. Jim Runyon.
Investigators say Addison's three children were in her vehicle at the time of the collision.
Addison now faces charges for gross vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run, child endangerment and felony driving under the influence causing injury.
Hours after learning of Flores' death, friends and classmates were remembering him as an amazing friend.
"He was my first friend," said friend and classmate Alexis Graham. "He was the first one to talk to me."
"He was always the class clown, making everybody laugh," said friend Bella Greylock.
Flores' family released the following statement:
We are heartbroken by the loss of our Alec, and the tragic way his life was taken. He was a truly special young man. His energy filled any room he entered. He was goofy, loving and passionate about life, his family and his hobbies. ...
... He will be clearly missed, but we will keep him close in our hearts forever.
Jessica and Scott Oakes drove to the site of the crash Tuesday, where they placed flowers at a makeshift memorial. Two years ago, the Oakes lost their 20-year-old son, Mason, and his cousin after they were struck by a drunken driver on the highway.
"Drunk driving is not an accident. It's a choice that people make," Jessica Oakes said. "Now the Flores family is suffering because of someone else's choices."
"It's just not right," Scott Oakes said. "Obviously the sentences for drunk driving aren't dissuading people from doing it. So something's gotta be done about this."
"We feel so bad for this family. We pray for them. And we know their pain. It's hell," Jessica added.
The tight-knit community was already working to help bring about change. A local mom has been gathering signatures to get a barrier in the bike lane to protect people on foot.
"They have a great community that loves them and we're gonna stand behind the family and try to be there to support them," said local resident Amy Tokuna.