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Slain Boyle Heights pedestrian identified

October 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police released the identity of the man struck and killed by a car that then slammed into a school bus in Boyle Heights Monday. The driver of that car is under arrest. And many of the students got back on the bus for school Tuesday.Charges of felony hit-and-run are pending against a 17-year-old who allegedly ran a red light and sent lives spinning: 44 students on a school bus and the family of a pedestrian who was killed instantly, 70-year-old Eduardo Gaytan.

"I am still kind of going through the shock part right now," said Cecil Hernandez, Gaytan's nephew. "A great man. And I'm hoping he's resting in peace right now."

Hernandez wants the driver to know what he stole. Gaytan was a college graduate, a musician, a former driver with the L.A. Rapid Transit District, a daily traveler on the bus and Metro system as he visited friends across the city.

"I know he had friends throughout the L.A. area, downtown, Chinatown," said Hernandez.

The suspect and a 14-year-old passenger were nabbed thanks to an alert citizen, and a strong one too.

"Before I knew it, I was doing a foot chase up the street chasing these guys," said Mario Morales.

Morales, a former Golden Gloves boxer, had been working on a construction job near the crash. He literally handed the two to police.

"I just grabbed them, put them out in front of me, walked them back to the first policeman I could see. I said, 'I think these are the two guys you want,'" said Morales.

The students carry terrible memories.

"My heart was beating fast because I was scared, I didn't know what to do. And then we were trying to get out the roof from the bus, and everybody was pushing, and I was scared like I was going to fall out," said one student who was onboard the bus during the crash.

Tuesday students were accompanied on their bus ride by the mayor and school officials. They want the word out that counseling is available as well as transportation by van instead of the bus.

Now the steps to recovery, and a message for the accused hit-and-run driver.

"He took a great guy, a great uncle. He was a great man," said Hernandez.

The California Highway Patrol and LAPD continued to investigate the incident Tuesday.

The 17-year-old suspect does not yet have a court date. Authorities did not say Tuesday whether he would be tried as an adult.


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