“That was my son,” Menendez said. “That was my baby.”
Menendez’s distant brown eyes were tinted pink; his hand shook slightly as he pointed to the grassy spot where his son had played happily just a day before.
It now holds a candled memorial.
Alex Menendez was killed Monday night while riding his tricycle in the Bartow Mobile Home Park where his family lives. A pickup driven by Lorenzo Jimenez-Guillen, 53, backed into the 2-year-old as he rode, in clear view of his mother, Micaelina Garcia-Escamilla.
Garcia-Escamilla took Alex and his older brother, 7-year-old Alexis, out to play in front of their home about 6 p.m. Monday, Menendez said. Menendez and Garcia-Escamilla have been married for eight years.
Alex was excited to jump on his black-and-red tricycle, and when given the chance, he sped up the block away from his mom.
He got less than 30 feet when the Toyota truck began to back out of the driveway.
Garcia-Escamilla immediately realized what was about to occur, Menendez said.
“She ran over, she yelled, ‘No! No! No!,'” Menendez said. “But he couldn’t hear. The windows were up.”
The initial crash didn’t kill the boy, Menendez said, but the truck rolled over him again as it shifted direction and went forward immediately after.
The Mexican consulate is helping with the family’s attempts to get the boy’s body shipped back to Hidalgo, Mexico, where the family lived before moving to Bartow 10 years ago.
Anna Lopez, 36, a neighbor, said police were at the scene until about 9 p.m. Monday as residents of the park coped with the crash.
“It was devastating,” Lopez said. “People were in shock.”
Menendez said his family will probably move back to Mexico soon because of the tragedy.
“I just want to go home,” he said.
This article can be found online here as it was originally published on page B1 of The Ledger.