Football Family Remembers Boat Crash Victim

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    Patrick Henry High School students and staff are mourning the death of a former star athlete. Russell Mendez and his friend, Jeff Ingram, were killed in a boating accident at the El Capitan Reservoir last Thursday. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala spoke with a close friend of one of the victims.

    Patrick Henry High School students and staff are mourning the loss of a former student killed in a boating accident.

    Russell Mendez and his friend, Jeff Ingram, died Thursday at the El Capitan Reservoir.

    Friends remember star linebacker Mendez and his family as a fixture at Patriot games. They say his death is a huge loss to their football community.

    Former Booster Club President Richard Owen says thumbing through old yearbooks never gets easier. He has experienced five deaths of former students in the last 10 years.

    2nd Victim of Boat Accident Recovered

    [DGO] 2nd Victim of Boat Accident Recovered
    The second victim of a boating accident was recovered from the water Friday at El Capitan Reservoir. The victims were killed after two boats collided on July 31, 2014. NBC 7’s Sherene Tagharobi reports.

    “This is always the hard part,” Owen said. “You get to see them and you remember what they meant, what they did.”

    But this death of a former student hit even closer to home

    “Shock. Devastation. His mom and dad both worked with the program, and my heart just sank for them,” Owen said. 

    A football family, he says Russell's mother ran the concession stand at every home game while his father manned the grill.

    “He was there, He was there every single practice, every single day cheering on his teammates and always a competitor on and off the field,” Owen said.

    As a Patriot, Mendez broke his leg in freshman year, keeping him off the field. But Owens says it never kept him away from the stands.

    “When you have a kid that is special, that through adversity, through everything in life, he's always got a smile on his face no matter what he's facing,” Owen said. “It's a huge loss."

    The Football Booster Club says there were will be a memorial service Tuesday at Lake Murray from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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