Family, Friends Remember 15-Year-Old Ronnie Flores

Family, Friends Remember 15-Year-Old Ronnie Flores

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - A rollover accident on Highway 191 in Midland last Tuesday night sent four teens to the hospital. One teenager was taken to Lubbock on Tuesday where he was placed on life support. It's after 15-year-old Ronnie Flores was taken off life support on Saturday that he passed away.

Now, Flores may be gone, but he's anything but forgotten. Family said he impacted a lot of people, like 14 year-old Sammy Ramirez Jr., who said they didn't have the best relationship.

"I know he never liked me, but I just felt bad, like you can't do nothing about it no more. The past is the past. You gotta make a statement, you gotta do something about it," Ramirez said.

So since the accident, Ramirez has been trying to change things. He went with friends to visit Flores in Lubbock, even organized a charity car wash where they raised more than $2,000. Every step of the way, Flores' parents helped out.

Ramirez said they would post updates on various social media sites about their son's status.

"Finally they said they took him off life support. Then they didn't know if he was gonna hold up then they took him off and he was breathing on his own. Everyone was all happy. But he had been fighting a lot like a soldier- that's what he wanted to be, a soldier and he was fighting and fighting," Ramirez said.

But he said Saturday afternoon, while at the car wash, they found out Flores had passed away.

"And we all just got in a circle and prayed for him," he remembered.

Then on Sunday, family, some of whom hadn't spoken in months, and friends came together for a barbecue in Flores's memory.

"Oh yes, brisket, that was his thing. He made his first barbecue for me just recently, it came out pretty good, but he loved family gatherings, I mean he enjoyed everybody getting together so I know he'd really enjoy this," Flores's mother, Melanie Melendez, said.

Ramirez helped put together the event where there was also supposed to be a candlelight vigil but the windy weather led to a change of plans. So they decided to release balloons into the sky in his honor.

"Like write the best thing you know about Ronnie on the balloon and then just let it go. So that they could be up there and people would know that they love him," he said.

Melendez said it wasn't hard for the family to get out there because it's what he would have wanted and also to support the other children.

"I'm doing it for them, for their respect for my son," she said.  

"I kinda hope he's hugging me right now or telling me something like, 'Thank you like you're on my good side,'" Ramirez said.

The family says it's hard for the other kids to realize that he's gone but it's important for them, "to just not to feel guilt or any blame because it was an accident, simple as that," according to Flores's step-dad, David Villafranco. "We just don't want them to feel like it's their fault. That they have peaceful minds and peaceful hearts so they can recover and go home and be with their families."

There will be another benefit for Flores on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Club Crystal. Proceeds from the entry fees and dinner will go towards funeral arrangements.