BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The mother of a teenager who was killed in a hit-and-run crash in East Bakersfield earlier this week is speaking out asking the driver to turn themselves in and the city to make the roads safer.
The mother of 16-year-old Angel Berumen calls him a “big-hearted child.” He raised pigs in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program and was looking forward to a trip to Six Flags for his birthday. Days before that birthday, Angel was hit by a driver on Niles Street.
“He was a great friend, an amazing brother,” Burleson said. “He was an amazing son.”
Jasmine Burleson, Angel’s mother, remembers her son as an inspiration to others, ready to lend a hand, encouraging them to try new things and going out on limbs himself.
“He was in the FFA program, he raised a pig that he took to the fair this year,” Burleson said. “He was so determined, he was telling everybody about how next year he was going to do it again, and get first place.”
Burleson spoke to 17 News from a hospital in Madera where Angel was taken after he was hit.
On Thursday, doctors declared him legally dead. She’s now speaking out, asking the driver who left her son laying in the street to turn themselves in.
“If it was an accident, that’s one thing,” Burleson said. “But you left. You got to go home. My son’s never going home.”
Angel was struck on Niles Street near Brentwood Drive. It’s a four-lane road, heavily trafficked, with thin sidewalks and wide-spaced streetlights.
It’s just blocks away from where 13-year-old Alejandro Vargas Jr. was hit and killed in 2019.
Burleson says she’s been in touch with Vargas’s mother, hoping to help her fight to get speed bumps installed on that stretch of Niles Street, just a block from Hort Elementary School.
“There [are] schools there. There are neighborhoods there. And I will definitely be on her side to try and get those speed bumps put in so that nobody else’s child has to deal with this.”
Angel is set to donate organs, including his lungs, liver and heart. Burleson said it’s some consolation knowing that even now, her son is still helping people.
“If he can prevent someone’s baby from passing away, then that’s something that I can hold onto,” She said. “Whoever gets his heart is going to be one lucky person, because he had an amazing one.”
The California Highway Patrol continues to investigate the incident. Anyone with further information is encouraged to call CHP at 661-396-6600.