Family members of a local teenager who was struck and killed by a car in front of his home are still reeling from their loss, but they are doing everything they can to see that their loved one has a proper burial.
Danny Hodrick, whose nickname was "Ceno," was hit by a car just before 10 p.m. on July 6 on Virginia Loop Road.
According to a press release from the Montgomery Police Department, a 2013 Honda CRV was traveling southbound in the 4600 block when it struck Hodrick, "who had entered the lane of traffic."
The driver of the Honda was uninjured. Hodrick received fatal injuries and was pronounced dead the following night at Baptist Medical Center South.
The accident happened on the other side of the street from where Hodrick lived with his family. A memorial has been set up at the site with crosses, candles and balloons. Relatives say Hodrick was being chased at the time of his death and as he was trying to get away and get home, he was hit by the SUV.
"He was on his way home. He was running from a group of guys. Before he could make it home, he was struck by a vehicle and thrown into the air," said Vernita McGhee, Hodrick's sister. "He was just trying to get home and didn't make it. It's hard for my mom that she has to walk outside and see that this is where her baby passed away."
A spokeswoman for the Montgomery Police Department could not confirm that Danny Hodrick was being chased that night, stating that the investigation is ongoing. Relatives say the driver of the car that hit Hodrick did stop at the scene.
Hodrick would have been 18 on Saturday, dying just days before his birthday.
"We are going through a lot. We just lost the best love we had. We have a lot of questions with no answers. There's no closure. We all are heartbroken. Everyone is," said his brother, Eric Abram. "He never did make it to 18 which is sad. But it hurts me more to know that I was with him two hours before the incident. He came and brought me a bite to eat and never came back."
As Hodrick's family waits for answers, they've been busy raising money for his funeral. They have $1,800 and need close to $7,000. Relatives and friends have been holding up signs on the side of the road asking for donations and cups have been placed at local convenience stores. An online fund has been set up as well and the family has been hosting fundraisers like fish fry events to help raise money. The Ross-Clayton Funeral Home is also accepting donations for the family.
"Danny was the youngest child out of a sibling group of four who was raised by a single mother, he was a very vibrant and loving young man who was loved by all that crossed his path.The family truly needs any type of assistance that anyone can offer to help with his funeral expenses," the family wrote on the GoFundMe account they set up.
"We didn't expect for this to happen. He was supposed to turn 18 this past Saturday but he didn't make it. He didn't have any insurance and we're just struggling. We don't want a sad funeral. We want to be like if he were still here, a celebration. But we still need help to get to that point. We're basically doing everything we can to give him a nice service," his sister, Vernita added.
Their story has touched a number of people in the community, including some who had never met the family. Patricia Bolden, a student at Alabama State University, was visiting her mother this past weekend when she saw Hodrick's relatives and friends out with signs seeking donations.
"When I heard about what happened, my heart immediately went out to the family. I know there are people in this cold, cold world who would give. I feel like this story should be put out to the community, to the entire Montgomery area because no family should have to endure so much pain,' Bolden said. "If you could just reach in your purses, it could be small, it could be large just to give to them so they can have a proper burial for this child."
Bolden has been trying to get the word out to as many people as she can in an effort to help the teen's family as they continue to deal with their unexpected and tragic loss.
Hodrick's family members are hoping to raise enough money to have his funeral service on Saturday, July 19 at noon at Ross-Clayton Funeral Home on Adams Avenue in Montgomery.
Montgomery police have not released any other details on the case. The department's spokeswoman said a copy of the crash report will be available once the investigation is completed.