Students at Jefferson High School are mourning the loss of one of their classmates.
Alex Olmsted, 18, died in a car accident Saturday morning while driving back to San Antonio from Seguin.
Investigators said just after 9 am Saturday, Olmsted was driving on I-10 when he veered off the road. His car crossed the center median into oncoming traffic and was hit by a semi-truck.
Hundreds of people packed the Jefferson High School football stadium Sunday for a candlelight vigil to remember Alex Olmsted.
At 6 feet 3 inches tall, Olmsted was a towering figure at Jefferson High School, both in physical height and in character, his classmates said.
“Never a dull moment around him,” said Michael Mendez, who played on the Jefferson High School football team with Olmsted. “He was always either picking somebody up, or just talking somebody through. I’d always look to him whenever I needed help.”
Olmsted’s mother, Linda Garza, said her son’s tenacity in the classroom and on the football field came from his willingness to be better than average.
She said that had a profound impact on her son’s classmates.
“He really influenced a lot of people, and I think that’s why they’re here today,” Garza said. “They’re letting us know that they cared about him, and that he’s going to continue to influence them.”
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and his brother, U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro, attended the candlelight vigil.
Garza spoke to the two men for several minutes, telling them about her son’s love of politics.
“He wanted to learn about everything,” she said. “He couldn’t just see something and let it go he had to know more.”
Garza said the support she’s received since her son’s death is keeping her strong throughout this tough time, but she said that’s what Alex would want her to be.
“He would tell me, ‘Mom, if you were going to be on camera and talking about me, do it right,'" said Garza.
Olmsted’s classmates echoed his mother's image of her son, saying he was an inspiration to the entire student body and a role model in the classroom.
“He was always a leader, respected the teacher, respected his elders,” said Mark Chavez. “He had a very good work ethic. He never half-way did something. He always gave 100 percent in everything he did.”
Junior track and field athlete Jocelyn Moreno said Olmsted motivated her to stick with the sport.
“He was like a big brother to me,” she said. “I could go and talk to him about anything and he would just listen.”
According to the district, Olmsted's parents requested that the teen be allowed to drive himself back from the track meet instead of taking the bus with his teammates.
SAISD officials said grief counselors will be at the high school next week.
“It’s surreal to know that he won’t be in class with me on Monday,” said Tony Luna.
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