Teen bicyclist dies after Wendell hit-and-run


WENDELL, N.C. (WNCN) — A 16-year-old boy has died after being hit on his bike while heading home from his girlfriend’s house Thursday night, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said.

Pablo Josue Banegas Mendoza

According to authorities, Pablo Josue Banegas Mendoza was heading north on Wendell Falls Parkway near Eagle Rock Road when he was hit. He was found just outside Wendell around 11 p.m. A witness heading south on Wendell Falls Parkway said a dark-colored car also heading north hit the teen cyclist from behind.

The bike ended up in a ditch and the driver took off, the witness said. The witness stayed at the scene and stayed with the teen until emergency crews arrived.

Banegas Mendoza was taken to WakeMed in critical condition. His father was in bed when troopers showed up to tell him his son was in intensive care. Banegas Mendoza died about 3:30 a.m. Friday.

His family told CBS North Carolina the teen later died from his injuries.

According to troopers, Banegas Mendoza was coming from his girlfriend’s house to his house, which was about a mile away from the wreck scene. Family members said he made the trip nearly every day.

Daniel Mendoza holds a picture of his son, Pablo Banegas Mendoza at age 8. His son was killed in a hit-and-run crash this week at age 16. (Justin Quesinberry/CBS North Carolina)

The speed limit is 45 mph on the road and speed doesn’t appear to be a factor, troopers said.

Tony Amaya, the victim’s cousin, translated for the victim’s father: “He said he’s obviously not feeling too well. To be honest, he’s not feeling very great about how things happened. He says he feels real bad about how the accident came to be and how somebody can just not have the heart to actually stop and make sure that a person was OK after they hit them.”

He also translated another statement: “He said the message that he would share to the person that did this is that he should really think of what he did and think about how he would actually feel if this was actually one of his family members that this actually happened to.”

“Everybody’s human,” said another cousin, Yeril Mendoza. “People make mistakes, but we would just like them to come up front and say who it is.”

Speaking for himself, Amaya remembered Banegas Mendoza as a happy person.

“He was a pretty shy person,” he said. “He was a very friendly guy if you got to actually know him. He was a very happy person who knew how to bring happiness out of everybody.”

If anyone knows anything about the incident, they’re asked to call North Carolina Highway Patrol.

A GoFundMe has been established to help the family with funeral expenses.

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