Family and friends raised their candles into the dark, cold sky Friday night in somber remembrance of Neto White.
Neto’s mother, Priscilla Garcia, stood close to a tree, clutching two candles and crying. Her brother, Joshua Hurtado, kept his arm around her for support.
“This is really sad,” Hurtado said. “I was really close to him. We used to hang out, play video games.”
Neto, 9, died Nov. 26 when an SUV slammed into a minivan he and Leondro “Dimples” Cordova-Carabajal, 17, of Cheyenne, Wyo. were pushing after it ran out of gas on Pikes Peak Avenue. Cordova-Carabajal, a family friend, also was killed.
The driver of the Dodge Durango that hit them, Robert Icenogle, 47, was on an allergy medication and Methadone. He was arrested on two counts of vehicular homicide.
There was a mix of emotions at the vigil, held at the site of the crash at Pikes Peak Avenue and South Parkside Drive.
The centerpiece was a tiny memorial; flowers in a clear glass vase leaning against a tree stripped of leaves. On the ground were cards in sealed envelopes, several bouquets of flowers and balloons that shivered in the breeze. Candles in small cups were lit and laid out on the concrete in the shape of a cross. As people arrived, they took one of the candles, the cross dwindling until it disappeared.
Cars whizzed by on Pikes Peak, drowning out the sound of prayer and soft voices singing. The group said The Lord’s Prayer and sang “Amazing Grace.”
Gabrielle Garcia, a family member, sang “Dancing Bears,” a song that she sang to Neto and other children to comfort them.
“Our family is a very close family,” she said. “Our kids played together. It’s devastating.”
Neto’s sister, Anjelica, attended the vigil in a wheelchair. She suffered broken bones in her left hand and left foot in the crash.
Martina Meehan, 23, was among the first to appear at the vigil, bringing flowers and rearranging the memorial.
She was in a car next to the minivan when it was hit, but didn’t realize it was her cousin who had died until later.
“I felt the impact of the truck,” she said. “I didn’t even know it was them. I just saw kids pushing.”
For some, anger flared underneath the current of sadness. Some were angry that Icenogle was under the influence of medication when he hit Neto.
“For a young child to lose his life at a young age, it’s really sad,” said Sandi Noyle, a great aunt. “If you are going to take medication, don’t drive.”
She said that she and her husband, John, were hit by a drunken driver three years ago and their lives were drastically changed.
“It was like a flashback when we came to the scene,” she said.
Michael Sintas, a great uncle, was also angry. He had trouble finding the words.
“The loss of a child is never good. You can never get over it,” he said.