Over 200 people gathered at a Maple Ridge park tonight for a candlelight vigil to remember two-year-old Riddick Servio, who died after being hit by a mini-van last week.
Many people who knew the boy, or members of his family, were on hand to show their support.
“His mother went to school with my son, and I feel in my heart for her,” says Beverly Leon.
“My heart aches for her because I saw her and that little boy walking that day and little did I know that was the last time I was ever going to see them.”
Riddick died of his injuries in hospital after being hit by a mini-van in a Pitt Meadows parking lot while he walked hand-in-hand with his mother to get a drink at a nearby Tim Horton’s. His mother suffered a broken leg and will require surgery in the coming days.
In the initial collision, the back wheel of the van came to a stop on top of the toddler, pinning him to the ground.
Jason Richardson, who attended tonight’s vigil, was one of the first people to rush to Riddick’s aid.
“I supported Riddick’s neck and got him from out under the vehicle with the help of everyone lifting him up and then stayed with him until the ambulance came. I tried to comfort him and make sure that he was okay,” Richardson recalled somberly.
He says that he’s struggling to make sense of the tragedy.
“Crap, man. I’ve been crap for days. That’s why I came here tonight. I wanted to try to heal from this because I can’t stop seeing his face. I can’t stop seeing him.”
In lieu of flowers, the Servio family asked mourners to bring new toys that will be donated to needy families during the holiday season by the Christmas Hamper Society.
Organizers of the vigil say that the family was touched by the show of support from their community, and that there was more tears shared among the gathered than words.
Riddick’s grandfather addressed the crowd Tuesday night to say thank you and try to explain the grief his family feels at this time. Yesterday, he released a public statement on behalf of the family.
An online fundraising campaign raised over $7,000 dollars since it started on Friday, and people are still able to donate if they wish.