WIXOM, Mich. - A mother grieved the loss of her teenage son, who was killed while riding a bicycle in Wixom, as the man accused of hitting him learned about his charges Thursday.
Miguel A. Ibarra Cerda is accused of fatally striking Justin Lee, 14, with a minivan and driving away. Lee was riding a bicycle Monday on Potter Road; police said Cerda ditched the minivan in Commerce Township and fled.
"My little boy was my everything. He was the reason why I got up every day," said Justin's mother, Pattie Lee.
Cerda is charged with reckless driving causing death and failure to stop at the scene of an accident when at fault resulting in death.
Officials said Cerda, who is in the United States illegally, was trying to flee to Mexico, but he was arrested in Lansing.
Pattie Lee showed compassion during Cerda's arraignment, as he appeared distressed.
"My heart bleeds for everyone. He has a mom somewhere or family somewhere and they're going to lose their family member for a long time too," she said.
Community holds vigil for victim
A community gathered Wednesday to remember a Walled Lake student who was killed in the hit-and-run crash.
Justin Lee was a ninth-grade student and football player at Walled Lake Western High School.
Family, friends, coaches and teammates shared stories about Justin during a vigil at the school's football stadium. The teen was killed just days before he was set to finish his freshman year of high school.
Mother speaks after son's death
Justin's mother spoke to Local 4 after the driver suspected of hitting him was arrested.
"You can't just hit someone and kill them and drive away like nothing happened," Pattie Lee said.
The roadside memorial for Justin continued to grow Tuesday night at the spot where he was killed on Potter Road.
Lee said the intersection is one she'll avoid for awhile. She said the pain of losing her son so close to their home is unbearable, but she's glad Cerda is behind bars.
"This is forever," Pattie Lee said. "He's never coming back. I'm never going to see my son again, and I don't know how I'm going to live through that.
"The last time I saw him he gave me a big hug and I rested my head on his shoulders. He kissed the top of my head."
Police said Cerda, 21, was speeding down Potter Road near Black Locust Drive when he hit Justin.
"I don't think it was intentional," Lee said. "I think it was an accident."
Investigators said Cerda left Justin to die on the road, ditching his minivan in Commerce Township. The hunt for Cerda ended around 3 p.m. Tuesday when he was taken into custody in Lansing.
"I said, 'Good work,'" Lee said. "The first word to come to mind was justice for Justin."
Lee said she's relieved police caught Cerda, but it doesn't ease the void in her heart.
"My child is gone and him going to jail won't bring my son back," Pattie Lee said.
Now, members of the community are remembering Lee, who dreamed of playing football for the University of Michigan.
"A lot of people loved him, and I'll do my best to honor his memory," Pattie Lee said. "There will never be another Justin."
Lee believes part of honoring her son's memory is making sure others learn from the crash. Police said speed was a contributing factor.
"It's a wake-up call," Pattie Lee said. "You have to pay attention."
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