Parents witness son struck by truck, sister talks to 3TV

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX – A Valley teenager walking home from a day of doing what he loved is killed in an instant and his family is now talking to 3TV about what happened and how they are coping.

Sixteen-year-old Manny Rodriguez’s family tells 3TV he was about to become a sophomore at Carl Hayden High School and he loved to play basketball. In fact, that is what he had just finished doing and had almost made it home.

Jenny Rodriguez, his sister, tells 3TV, “He was really friendly. He was doing really good in school. He was the youngest one. We miss him a lot."

On Saturday night at around 7 p.m. Rodriguez died on a sidewalk just yards from his house. He and a friend had been playing basketball at their neighborhood park near 33rd Avenue and Roosevelt.

Jenny explains, “He was returning from the park and we weren't expecting this, so it's really hard."

Witnesses say a driver was distracted by kids in the back seat and veered onto the sidewalk and plowed into Martinez. Milton Morales, a witness, tells 3TV, “I saw the young man under the truck and, you know, it's pretty sad."

Manny's parents were out for a walk and came across their youngest child. Jenny says, “They saw him laying down on the street. They had no idea. They had no idea, until they saw him. We went to the hospital and they told us they couldn't do anything."

3TV is told Rodriguez's 15-year-old friend was also injured but only received cuts and bruises.

It is still unclear whether any charges will be filed against the distracted driver.