Friends, fellow students and community members honored 13-year-old Jose Hernandez at a memorial Wednesday.
On Monday, just after 2:30 p.m., Jose Hernandez and his 14-year-old friend were riding their bikes down a hill on northbound 61st Street in San Diego. As the teens neared the turn to Imperial Avenue, Hernandez lost control of his bicycle.
He rode across the road, hit a curb and struck the guardrail by the MTS trolley tracks. Officers with the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said Hernandez flew another 10 feet, hitting his head on the trolley tracks. The boy died at the scene from massive head trauma.
Investigators said the brakes on Hernandez’s bike did not work. He was also not wearing a helmet.
Many came out to Colina Del Sol Park to honor the teen, who was an 8th grade student at Horace Mann Middle School on 54th Street.
Motorcyclist Antwone Howard, who was one of the many motorcyclists who came out Wednesday, said many of the people there were from Southeast San Diego. The incident struck home for him personally because it happened just two blocks from his office.
"When we heard of the incident and we heard it was a young kid – a lot of times that could be our little brothers, our nephews, so as a motorcycle community, whether its on bicycles or motorcycles, we do come together and show support," Howard said.
Many younger kids will ask motorcyclists like him about their bikes, he said, but he always stresses safety first. He grew up riding bicycles before transitioning to a motorcycle.
"When things happen like this when a lot of our friends go down too, having the proper protection on first can eliminate a lot of injuries and possibly death," he said.
On Tuesday, police confirmed Hernandez and his friend had been robbed about a half hour before the deadly accident. Investigators said seven males approached the two teens in the 6400 block of Skyline and stole their money. No weapons were seen, police said.
At first, witnesses told police it appeared the teens were being chased by robbers at the time of the bike crash. However, investigators have now confirmed that wasn’t the case, saying it does not appear the robbery is connected to the accident. Investigators do not believe Hernandez was being pursued.
At this point, police say the teen’s death is a tragic accident.