By Alicia Neaves
MIDLAND - An underage driver was killed in an accident just days ago in Ector County, sending his three 8th grade passengers to the hospital. It turns out another West Texas family in Midland was affected by a very similar situation, which inspired them to help other grieving families.
The family of 12-year-old Eric Lozano is using his passing as a way to help other families who have lost a child. It's through the Eric Lozano Legacy Foundation. In just months, it's grown from the Dallas area to West Texas.
"Him and his dad were best friends. That was his right hand man. They were always together," Eric's Uncle, John Ayala, said.
"That smile, just constantly smiling. Even if he was sad, he was smiling and it was just infectious," Eric's Aunt, Erica Mendez, said.
Lewisville Police say back on October 24, an unlicensed teen was learning the ropes behind the wheel with the help from her father, when she lost control when reversing. In just seconds, Eric Lozano was pinned between her car and a mobile home. He died shortly after.
"I've seen and read on Facebook, in the news and everything about how these accidents and deaths are because a child is behind the wheel," Mendez said.
Lewisville Police also tell NewsWest 9 the 16-year-old unlicensed driver will not face charges because the accident was on a private parking lot, not a public roadway. They say laws for public roadways do not apply to a private parking lot.
Eric's family is hoping to change that law, in efforts to bring justice to their lost loved one.
"You can't really say whether or not children are to blame or the parents are to blame, but I myself know that I wouldn't hand my child a loaded gun and tell them to go play out in the playground. So why would you hand your child keys to a vehicle if they have no training, no license and you tell them, 'Hey, go ahead and drive,'" Eric's Aunt, Christina Melendez, said.
In light of this tragedy, Eric's family decided his work wasn't finished yet. They started the Eric Lozano Legacy Foundation.
"The purpose of it is to help other families that lose a child in a tragic accident. It doesn't even have to be in an accident, it could just be that they passed away," Mendez said.
The family hosts car shows, bake sales - you name it. All to raise money for grieving families in need. They even offer counseling.
"I wish there was something I could do to make [My brother] happy and bring my nephew back but God wanted him back. God had better things for my nephew," Ayala said.