Local runners honor man hit, killed in southwest Bakersfield

Published 08/08 2014 04:53AM

Updated 08/08 2014 07:24AM

BAKERSFIELD, CA- People gathered Thursday night to support the family of a Bakersfield man who was hit and killed while he was running last week in southwest Bakersfield.

Friends say Jesus Rios-Gallegos, 26, was out for his morning run in his neighborhood when he was hit by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel.

Local groups are joining forces to support Rios-Gallegos' family and raise awareness of the dangers that runners face.

"He was a great kid, a great runner and a great son. We're here to show our support, not only to him but also to his family...to let them know that as runners we stick together," said runner Domingo Mata.

Dozens of people ran a 5K Thursday night in his honor, many wearing bright colored headbands.

"We actually had these headbands that we have for everybody with a donation. All the proceeds, 100% of it went to the Rios family," said Sole 2 Soul employee Omar Olaguez.

Local runners said his death brings up safety concerns they face on a daily basis.

"What happened to Jesus could have happened to either one of us," said Mata.

"We are out here and people...be careful when you see us out running. Respect the road, just like we do," said runner Karina Serda.

Donations can be made by clicking on the following link: http://www.gofundme.com/CH3YH8

Bakersfield police said the driver who hit Rios-Gallegos could face charges of vehicular manslaughter.

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