A family is in mourning after Virginia police say a hit-and-run driver slammed into their car on Saturday afternoon — and left a 4-year-old boy dead.
Police identified the suspect as 28-year-old Jose Gonzalez-Flores. He’s accused of driving his truck at a high speed as he hit a car belonging to the family of 4-year-old Elias Camacho in Chesterfield, according to Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Along with 4-year-old Elias, who later died from his injuries at a nearby hospital, his 7-year-old brother and both of his parents were inside the car, as reported by WTVR. All three of the boy’s family members received serious injuries in the crash.
Elias’ aunt, who wished to be identified by her first name, Julie, told WTVR that it’s “like a nightmare” as she holds onto memories of the young boy.
“Every time he would see somebody sad or upset, he would be like ‘It’s okay, It’s okay Julie. Me love you.’” she told WTVR. “I would just hug him because he always knew what to say even though he was so young.”
A man named Jeffery Johnson said he witnessed the crash, and the driver fled the scene like “nothing happened,” according to NBC12.
“You see these children laying on the ground and you realize how important life is,” he said, according to the TV station.
After hitting the family’s car, police say, Gonzalez-Flores fled and went to the house of his 28-year-old friend Edilberto Hernandez-Perez. According to NBC12, authorities originally charged Hernandez-Perez with the hit-and-run — but learned that he wasn’t the driver after an investigation.
“After (Hernandez-Perez) was arrested, we developed some new information ... and we tracked it all down,” Chesterfield police Sgt. J.R. Lamb reportedly told Richmond Times-Dispatch. “It was a big change for us and the minute we learned about it, we started moving on it right away. We can say 100 percent we have the right guy now.”
Gonzales-Flores is now charged with driving with a suspended license, possession of controlled substance and felony hit-and-run, NBC12 reported. Police say they are reviewing the charges leveled against Hernandez-Perez, who drove the suspect back to his home.
Both of the men are in jail with no bond, according to Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Elias’ family created a GoFundMe page to help cover expenses in the aftermath of the deadly crash. As of Tuesday, the campaign has raised just over $1,000 of its $10,000 goal.
“Please help my sister and brother in law in their time of need,” it reads. “Anything will help. Even your prayers. Its a very difficult time for all of us so I ask for your help.”
As law enforcement works on the case and a family grieves, Elias’ aunt told WTVR she’s struggling with just how unfair it all is.
“It’s really sad to see a baby boy ... have to suffer for adults’ mistakes,” she told the TV station.