SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro police are searching for the driver who reportedly hit a family of nine Friday, May 19 in Goodlettsville, leading to the death of a 13-year-old boy who made a lasting impact on the Springfield community.
Gabriel Barerra Jr. and his eight other family members were riding in a Toyota Highlander on Springfield Highway around 10:30 p.m. when Metro police said someone driving a 2014 Nissan Murano ran a stop sign at Baker Station Road, hitting the family’s SUV.
Barerra’s car rolled, and multiple passengers were ejected from the Toyota. A witness on scene allegedly told police the driver in the Murano got out of their car and ran away.
Barerra spent multiple days at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, fighting for his life before he died Tuesday, the day he was set to graduate Springfield Middle Innovation Academy.
The 13-year-old’s soccer coach, James Francis, told News 2 he was in disbelief when he heard about the crash.
“It didn’t really dawn on me how bad of a shape he was in until we went down there Saturday to visit,” Francis said. “When you saw him, it was heartbreaking, shocking. You always hold out hope for a miracle that God will step in, but I think God had other plans.”
News of Barerra’s death has rocked the Springfield community, which is now rallying around his family and working to plan events to memorialize the teen.
“For a kid who is 13-years-old and the impact he had on this community, it’s just amazing; it’s remarkable,” Francis said.
Francis and the community are calling on the driver responsible to turn themselves in.
“I don’t hate the (person), but (they) need to pay for what (they) did and let the law take effect,” Francis said. “It would help the family, too, to get some closure on that.”
While the rest of Barerra’s family recovers from their injuries, including his 22-year-old cousin who is in critical condition, Metro police are investigating leads to identify the driver of the Murano.
Anyone with information on the driver is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.
Springfield Middle Innovation Academy has planned a memorial soccer tournament at the Robertson County YMCA on June 23. Money raised will go to Barerra’s family.
Friends of the family have also set up a GoFundMe to help with funeral and medical expenses.