SAN ANTONIO – Friends and former classmates gathered Wednesday night to remember Eden Arriaga Jr. days after he was killed in a car accident in the Rio Grande Valley.
"It's kind of just to respect him and respect his family. We're making cards of memories of people that spent their days with him and were giving it to the family afterwards," said friend Mikaela Nichols.
Arriaga, 19, a 2016 graduate of Warren High School died Sunday while visiting family in Harlingen. Police said he and three friends were walking home from a nearby park when they became the victims of a hit-and-run crash.
"He was the only one to die out of the incident. It was him and three of his friends. He was the first to take the impact because he pushed his friends out of the way," Nichols said.
His act of bravery saved his friends, who are now recovering from their injuries.
"From birth to death that guy was just a hero," said friend and former classmate, Abel Alderete.
Arriaga was remembered as an avid singer, songwriter and joyful soul.
"His voice and his love for everyone in the world. He has a beautiful singing voice that you had to have heard in person," Alderete said.
Harlingen police said the driver did turn himself in. Fidel Arreazola, 27, is now facing one count of an accident involving a death and three counts of an accident involving serious injuries.
Arriaga will be laid to rest Thursday in the Rio Grande Valley.