Family, friends of 11-year-old killed in hit-and-run raise funds for funeral

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Family and friends of a young boy killed in a hit-and-run accident came together Saturday to help with the sudden and unexpected costs.

Eleven-year-old Mike Espinosa died after a hit-and-run crash in Denver Feb. 16.

It looked like your typical car wash in a parking lot off Sheridan and Jewell in Lakewood Saturday.

Aside from cleaning cars, this group, comprised of several Denver car clubs, hopes to wash away some of the pain following Mikey’s death by raising money for his funeral.

“We were driving down Federal and we saw it. We saw the poor kid lying on the floor,” said Israel Isfuentes of Denver’s Finest Car Club about seeing the aftermath of the deadly crash.

Unique Street Trucks and Denver Performance Car Clubs also helped out.

Police said Oswaldo Lopez, 21, hit the boy and sped away in his dark blue Dodge Charger.

“What a cruel act,” said family friend Tammy Buchanan. “I mean, you know you hit somebody and you just leave him to die. How can you do that?”

But it was question without an answer.

However, those gathered hoped to send Mikey’s family another message.

“Everybody has got to step up and help out,” said Robert Murray, who was driving by when he saw the fundraiser. “This poor family that needs the help.”

“It’s just really hard and sad. And I’m trying to do all can to help the family with costs for the funeral and everything,” added family friend, April Sanchez.

“It’s from the Girls and Boys Club,” said Julio Flores, as he handed a jar of money to Mikey’s 15-year-old sister, Alicionna Espinoza. “We got about $100 from all the kids.”

Some of the visitors knew Mikey.

“It was extremely heartbreaking because my son just turned 11 years old. And they use to run around with each other, play with each other. Makes you think what if you were in that situation,” said Flores.

“It’s really sad he got hit, and he died. I wish he could be here today,” says Flores’ son, Gianno.

“He took care of me at school and he put the blame on him instead of me,” said Sanchez’s son, 6-year-old Lorenzo Becerra.

Others didn’t know Mikey, but gathered anyway to help support his family.

“To happen in our backyard is traumatizing and I really feel bad for the family,” said Daniel Tafoya, who got his car washed to show support.

It all made a difference for a family’s darkest day.

“This helps my heart knowing there are caring people out there. Knowing my brother is thought about, there are people with hearts,” said Mikey’s sister, Shaionnie Lopez.

“He’s sending the sunshine. The sun today is Mikey’s smile, Mikey’s love and Mikey’s support,” said Buchanan.

Mikey’s viewing is Tuesday at Romero Family Funeral Home in Denver.

His private funeral is Wednesday afternoon.

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