14-Year-Old Boy with 'Heart of Gold' Hit, Killed by Car After Pushing His Friends Out of the Way
"He meant the world to me," said Ricky Rojas Jr.'s heartbroken father
A Texas family has been left heartbroken after they say their 14-year-old son was tragically killed while protecting his friends from an oncoming car.
"[He] has a heart of gold," his father, Ricky Rojas, told KTRK after the incident. "He meant the world to me, I mean that's my only son."
The La Marque Police Department confirmed the incident in a press release and said it occurred around 6:40 p.m. on Main Street.
Ricky Jr.'s family told KTRK that the teen was walking to the store with two friends when he was hit.
One of those friends, Damion Escobar, recalled to the outlet how Ricky Jr. was a step behind him and was able to push him out of the way before the car struck them.
Though Escobar was able to stand after the collision, he said Ricky Jr. remained on the ground and was later believed to be dead by two strangers who came to help.
"They checked his pulse and said it was fatal," Escobar recalled to KTRK. "I was panicking trying to breathe."
Police later confirmed the fatality in their press release and closed the roadway as they investigated.
Though authorities have not yet released the driver's identity or confirmed the cause of the crash, Sage claimed on the GoFundMe page that "due to the time of day, the driver couldn't see them."
"My brother pushed his friends out of harms way and in turn was hit," she added on the page.
A spokesperson with the La Marque Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
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In the wake of the tragedy, Sage set up the fundraiser in order to raise money to help with funeral and cremation expenses.
The page's initial goal was set at $8,000 but the support of the community in just two days has led to over $11,000 in donations.
Along with generous donations, several people left comments about their devastation over Ricky Jr.'s passing.
"Ricky was a student of mine. He was the type of person who would do anything for his friends," Ricky Jr.'s former teacher, Rakel Hill, wrote. "Great character. I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you all during this time."
Another person called Ricky Jr. "a hero" for pushing his friends out of the way.
As the family continues to grieve, Ricky Jr.'s father told KTRK that he is finding comfort in the words that his son would want him to remember.
"Don't give up hope and always pick love and kindness," he explained to the outlet.
At this time, it is unclear if the driver will face charges for the crash.
Those interested in donating to Ricky Jr.'s GoFundMe page can do so here.