Fundraiser held for 24-year-old killed in San Jose hit-and-run

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — A week has passed since 24-year-old San Jose youth counselor Jose Esparza was killed by a hit-and-run driver and investigators are still working to track the suspect down.

KRON4’s Philippe Djegal stopped by a community fundraiser held to help the Esparza family.

Hot and fresh homemade Mexican food and donations to help a grieving family.

“I miss him very much, because his room was right next to us,” Karla Esparza said. “So, I feel like he’s still there.”

A week after 24-year-old Jose Esparaza lost his life, the community rallies behind his loved ones in east San Jose.

His nieces say he was a caring mentor.

“He expected a lot from us, because he knew we had potential and he would push us a lot,” Zaida Flores said.

The driver behind the wheel of this car slammed into Jose last Saturday morning at McKee Road and North 33rd Street.

Jose was ejected from his car and died.

San Jose police say the suspect ran a red light — speeding away from an attempted traffic stop and left the scene on foot.

“It’s just a matter of time before we find him, and you know, that was a real cowardly thing to do,” Luis Villanueva said. “You never know, we could have saved Jose’s life if he would have stopped, and you know, checked up on him. Make sure he was OK.”

The money raised at the fundraiser will go directly to the Esparza family to help off-set the financial stress associated with his death.

Those who knew the former standout athlete at Overfelt High School say he deserved better.

“Esparza was a great person. He was like a brother to me,” Alex Puentes said. “Just so many memories with him that I hope we keep carrying on, you know. keep his legacy going.”

The Esparza family hopes the suspect comes to his senses and turns himself in.

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