The family of the Bells Corners teen who died after being struck by a vehicle says they're dealing with the pain of losing someone with so much potential — and struggling to understand how it happened.
Nick Hickey, 17, died after he was hit while walking along Seyton Drive, near Moodie Drive and Robertson Road, shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday.
His mother, Tracy Mellon, said she would never forget the 4.a.m knock on her door, when police told her that her son had been hit by a car and killed.
She said Hickey would regularly take walks to clear his head, listen to music and calm himself.
"I'm burning. And I don't feel hungry to eat. And sleeping isn't easy for me," Mellon said. "Because I'm never going to have that child back."
Mellon said she couldn't initially believe the news, thinking that it was some kind of sick joke. She said the entire family is still trying to come to terms with Hickey's absence.
"I just miss how he used to joke around and how he'd play games and be my daughter's other half," she said, her voice tightening.
"That's what makes a family — [the fact] that you have each other, you play, you're there for each other and you make sure you grow up [together]."
Vicky Mellon, Hickey's 11-year-old sister, said that despite the occasional sibling conflict, he was her protector at school.
The pair shared a love of video games and Japanese cartoons.
"He would teach me a lot of cool things on the games, and we would help each other and I would cheer him on," she said.
'So much he missed in life'
Tracy Mellon said she's trying to understand how a driver could hit her son while he was walking on the sidewalk.
"What was going through his head that he would be so desperate — to hit my child and take his life," she said.
"He will never ever live to be an adult to ever experience everything we experience."
Guillermo Escobedo-Hoyo, 37, has been charged with second-degree murder and has had two court appearances so far.
Christiana Ouellette, 24, said that despite some behavioural issues at the Ottawa Technical Secondary School, her younger brother was curious, smart and bound for a career in a science-related field.
"He knew more science than his science teachers. He'd walk out class because he was so bored. He was like, 'I already know this,'" Ouelette said.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she recalled the experiences her brother would never have.
"He [had] almost graduated. He was a good kid. He never got his licence, he never drove. He never had his first relationship. There was so much he missed in life."
Hickey's 20-year-old brother Josh said he's taken his death as a wake-up call.
He said he's decided to go back to high school and finish his degree in honour of both his little brother and their biological father, who died several years ago.
Community offers support
Joey Hickey, 22, said there's been an amazing outpouring of support in Bells Corners for the family.
He said the snow removal company where he works, Metro Snow and Ice, is offering to match any donations employees make for the family.
"It's really touching, and I didn't think there were that many people out there who care about people they don't know," he said.
An anonymous donor is helping to fly in one of Hickey's relatives for his funeral. People have also dropped off food for the family and donated clothing — including a suit for Hickey during his wake.
Mellon said everybody is welcome to offer condolences at the McEvoy-Shields Funeral Home on Wednesday from 2 to 4 p.m., and at his funeral at St. Martin de Porres Church on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
She said the kind words, concern and generosity of the neighbourhood had given her strength in this difficult time.
Mellon also said she'd like to see more investments in mental health programs, so that if someone was at risk of dangerous driving, they could get attention and avoid a similar tragedy.