SKATEBOARDER KILLED BY CAR WAS WORKING TO BETTER LIFE
Rocky Mountain News
Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Author: Tillie Fong ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS
A Denver cafe owner is collecting money to help pay for the funeral of Anthony Rodriguez Jr., an 18-year-old skateboarder who was killed Sunday when a car ran into him in downtown Denver.
``He was real sweet,'' said Regina Chavez y Sanchez, owner of La Taza Cafe and Market, 1550 Platte St., where Rodriguez had worked for the past two months.
``He was working to get his GED; he wanted to get his own apartment. He was going back to school, go into a trade and make a better life for himself.''
At 7:10 p.m., Rodriguez was skateboarding in the 2200 block of 15th Street when a 2002 Mitsubishi hit him. No charges were filed in the crash.
``One of the kids told me, 'Nobody cares about us - it's another dead skateboarder,' '' Chavez y Sanchez said. ``That's not right. I do care and a lot of other adults do care.''
The cafe has a jar to collect donations to help pay for Rodriguez's funeral, which is set for 10 a.m. Monday at the Pathways Assembly of God church, 133 S. 27th Ave., in Brighton. He will be buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Brighton.
Chavez y Sanchez said she met Rodriguez when he came by her cafe looking for a job after spending time at the skateboard park two blocks away.
``He seemed like a lost little boy, looking for a chance,'' she said. ``He was very courteous, with good manners.''
She hired him, and Anthony helped make sandwiches, cleaned and ran the espresso machine at the coffee shop.
``He dressed like a skate kid with the loose clothes,'' she said. ``He had a baby face, a small little face, and his voice was not a man's . . . he had a real soft voice.''
Anthony's father, Anthony Rodriguez Sr., 41, of Brighton, said he had visited his son at the coffee shop just hours before he died.
``I wanted to tell him to come back home, because I missed him,'' he said. ``I wanted to help him get a car, and four, five hours later, I got the call that he was dead.''
Anthony, whose parents divorced when he was 3, had dropped out of Brighton High School last year, and moved to Denver after having a falling out with his father.
But since moving out, the two had reconciled, with Anthony calling or visiting his father once a week.
``Despite our family arguments, we always loved him,'' said the elder Rodriguez. ``He was a good kid.''