Man Accepts Diploma on Behalf of Brother Killed by Alleged Drunk Driver: 'I Needed To Do This for Him'
A Texas man is honoring his late brother, who was killed in a February car crash.
Earlier this week, Juan Olano-Flores attended a graduation ceremony at the University of Houston, where he accepted his late brother Renzo's diploma, according to KHOU.
Renzo, 24, was in his senior year at the Texas school at the time of his death, per the outlet. He was given a posthumous degree in construction management by the College of Technology.
"I needed to do this for him," Juan told KHOU, before admitting that he initially felt unsure about walking in his brother's place.
"At the beginning, I didn't know what to do," he told the outlet. "And then out of the blue, I just felt this strong wind from behind and I started walking and I got very emotional. I was imagining him being the one that was walking."
Back in February, Renzo was driving home from a family member's house when he was hit by an alleged drunk driver down the road from his own home, per KHOU.
Renzo was then taken to a nearby hospital where he was "pronounced deceased from the injuries he sustained during the collision," the Harris County Sheriff's Office wrote in a traffic report.
Police alleged that Ilianna Zepeda, 22, who initially left the scene of the incident, "showed signs of intoxication" at the time of her arrest.
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Zepeda was later charged with a second-degree felony offense of intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle, as well as a second-degree felony offense of failure to stop and render aid in an accident involving death, according to KHOU.
Court documents obtained by KHOU stated that Zepeda was out on bond for a previous DUI charge at the time of Renzo's death, per the outlet. Her bond was set for $1 million, according to KHOU.
Zepeda, currently awaiting trial in the Harris County Sheriff's Office Detention facility, is next scheduled to appear in court on August 4 for arraignment, according to the Harris County District Attorney's Office and the Harris County Sheriff's Office.
On a GoFundMe created following his death, Renzo was remembered by loved ones as a "treasure to his family and everyone who knew him."
"He was an aspiring Project Manager. Full of Love. Full of Passion. Full of Life. Just starting on his journey," read a message on the fundraising page. "Renzo brought laughter and joy everywhere he went. No words can express this loss. Heaven has gained an extraordinary angel. This is not a goodbye but a see you later."