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Cycling community remembers boy killed in crash

Sunday, October 07, 2012

The cycling community came together Sunday morning to remember a young life that was taken by a suspected drunk driver.

7-year-old Donovan Maldonado was riding his bike with his family when investigators say he was struck by the drunk driver and killed.

Fresno police say former Central High School basketball coach, Loren LeBeau, was behind the wheel when he struck the Maldonado family back in July.

Maldonado was killed by a suspected drunk driver three months ago but the community is still coming together to remember the young boy who enjoyed going on bike rides.

Dozens of cyclists took off from Woodward Park Sunday morning to ride in memory of seven-year-old Donovan Maldonado.

"I didn't know the family but bicycling community is pretty tight and we all stick together pretty much," Ben Liu said.

The 24 mile ride was held to promote safe bicycling and raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving.

"He always looked like he was having fun, he was always smiling," Max Gulesserian said.

Some of Donovan's closest friends also participated in a shorter route to honor the young athlete.

"Everybody in heaven right now should take care of Donovan, and right now, nobody should ever drink and drive ever again," friend Kaden Regier said.

Just a mile east of Woodward Park is the site where Donovan Maldonado was fatally hit. This memorial at the crosswalk reminds people of the young life that was taken too soon.

The 7-year-old was on a bike ride with his family back on July 25th when he was struck by a car. Police say former Central High School basketball coach Loren LeBeau was driving drunk when the accident happened.

"He made a very ignorant decision and he ruined a whole family," Elizabeth Guzman, Donovan's aunt, said.

Donovan's father and 2-year-old sister Bella were also seriously injured. They are both still recovering but their physical wounds serve as a reminder of the tragedy that took a life.

"It's going to take a long time for the family to heal, mentally, physically there's good right now but mentally it's going to take a long time," Guzman said.

There was also a silent auction to raise money for the Maldonado Memorial Fund. Its mission - to keep drunk drivers off the road so that another family doesn't have to go through the pain of losing a child.

"I think this is good for them to understand that the community has not forgotten Donovan, we're not going to forget Donovan, he's always in our heart," Regier said.

And while the Maldonado family still struggles with the loss of Donovan they're also waiting for justice. LeBeau plead not guilty in court back in August.

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dui, accident, local, carlos saucedo
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