By Bill Choy and Nicholas Grube
Triplicate staff writers
A Del Norte High School freshman died Saturday from injuries suffered in a hit-and-run.
Joshua A. Lacy , 16, was waiting for a bus U.S. Highway 101 near Arrowhead Road around 7:05 a.m. Friday when he was struck by a vehicle in the northbound lane. Witnesses told the California Highway Patrol that the vehicle fled the scene without stopping.
CHP say the vehicle has possible reddish tint and damage to the left front. They are currently investigating tips they received over the weekend.
Lacy was transported to Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland with leg, head and other internal injuries.
Though only in his first year in the wrestling program, Lacy already has earned a reputation as a valuable team member, having several strong showings at tournaments and dual meets.
Del Norte head wrestling Coach Dave Bokor said Lacy was well-liked by teammates for his good-natured disposition and his fierce, competitive nature on the wrestling mat.
"He's a competitor and a great person," he said.
When Lacy wrestled, he gave everything he has and will do whatever is inside of him to ensure he gains the win, Bokor said.
On Friday, the team took part in its daily practice as usual. But it was obvious the team's thoughts were with Lacy and his family.
The wrestling team is like a family, Bokor said, and when a tragedy befalls a team member, it is difficult .
"When one of your family hurts, it hurts badly," he said.
Bokor said how the accident will affect the wrestling team is the least of his and the team's concerns. The top of their list is Josh and his family.
"I care about this kid," he said, adding wrestling is insignificant in the grand scheme of things compared to what happens to Lacy and his family during this trying time.
Fellow freshman wrestler Kai Lemrise has known Lacy since they both wrestled for the Del Norte Youth Wrestling team.
Lemrise said Lacy has been a great competitor that other kids look up to.
"He never quits," he said. "He just keeps going. He's a great kid. He gets everyone laughing."
Junior wrestler Jennifer Skinner said Lacy is certainly someone his teammates admire.
She has known him since he started to come by the high school as a seventh-grader to wrestle and hang around the older kids.
To her, what made Lacy such a great person and teammate is that while he can be serious and is a great competitor, he also could bring laughter and a lightness to the proceedings. Lacy was the type of person others felt comfortable talking to and confiding in, she added.
"He keeps the spirit of he team alive," she said. "He makes everyone laugh."
Did you see it?
The California Highway Patrol encourages anyone with information regarding the accident or the description of the hit-and-run vehicle are encouraged to call the CHP office at 707-464-3117.