SILVER SPRINGS SHORES, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -- An Ocala teen has died after falling off the back of a car.
Gianni Garcia was 15 and a sophomore at Forest High School in Ocala. His father told Fox 35’s David Williams, he loved baseball. There is now a memorial is in his honor where the tragic incident happened.
Carlos Garcia, Gianni’s father told Fox 35, “I want the world to know that he was a great kid. He was a loveable kid, man. Got mad love for everybody.”
Carlos Garcia fought through his tears to tell us about his son. “Gianni was something special,” Garcia said. “Very good kid.“
"He was going to become an MLB player,” Garcia said of his son. “That was his dream.”
That dream was cut short, when Florida Highway Patrol said Gianni was riding with 18-year-old friend, Angel Luis Garcia-Cruz, on the trunk of a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Tuesday afternoon, on Pecan Road, at Pecan Course Circle, in Silver Springs Shores.
FHP said a 17-year-old friend, at the wheel accelerated from a stop, and Garcia fell off, hit his head on the pavement, and died at the hospital.
Captain Gregory Lamont, District Commander with the Florida Highway Patrol, said “Once we complete the investigation, we’ll be referring it to the state attorney’s office and let them decide if there’s enough evidence for us to make a criminal charge.”
Captain Lamont said there was no evidence of drug or alcohol abuse, and the driver gave a blood sample.
Garcia told Fox 35 he doesn’t know why his son was riding on the car’s trunk.
“Basically, that’s what caused this death tragedy on both sides of the family, was just trying to have fun and not thinking,” he explained.
“Please don’t ride on the exterior of vehicles. It’s unfortunate,” Captain Lamont said. “It’s a tragic situation.”
Garcia said he hopes his son’s death can be a learning point for others.
“It’s terrible that I’ll live the rest of my life not with my son,” He said as he wiped away tears.
According to the Facebook posting of a group called “Forest High School Football - Cheerleading Boosters,” a candlelight vigil is planned in Ocala, in honor of Gianni Garcia. The event is scheduled for Friday at 7:30 pm at the Ocala Rotary SportsPlex.