HALAWA HEIGHTS (HawaiiNewsNow) - An Ewa Beach teen's grieving family and friends visited the site of his deadly golf cart accident Tuesday. The victim's mother doesn't blame her son's friends for fleeing the scene, saying she wants to focus on how much joy her son brought to people's lives.
Family members described Roland Javier as a teen who always did his chores, and took care of his younger brother and sister. After initially struggling in high school, they say he stepped it up and was proud to graduate this year.
Joining hands to create a large circle of support, Roland's family and friends tried to come to grips with the teenager's sudden death.
"It's so senseless," Robert Devera, victim's uncle, said. "He's 17 years old. I don't understand. He just graduated from high school."
"After looking at this, I know he has a lot of friends, a lot of family, a lot of church friends," Dino Javier, victim's father, said about the large group of mourners. "I was telling them that everyone came together. I think that's a beautiful thing."
Police say Roland suffered fatal head injuries when he either jumped or fell out of a golf cart that was traveling down a steep hill on Nahiolea Street Monday.
"The worst thing that you could hear is, oh, your son didn't make it," Dino Javier said. "That's what we heard when we got to the hospital. We weren't expecting that."
Investigators say the 16-year-old boy who was driving the stolen cart -- and possibly another person -- initially took off, but later returned.
"I know there's stories about them possibly leaving the scene," Rose Javier, victim's mother said. "I'm really looking at how I would feel if I was them. I know they were scared. I don't blame them at all."
Family members say the Radford High graduate enjoyed caring for his two younger siblings and talked about joining the Navy.
"He said he liked to be on the ship," Devera said. "The water didn't bother him at all. I even asked him that. He was trying to get into shape so he can join."
"I love him," Rose Javier said. "I cherish the 17 years that I had with him. I wish it was longer, but I know I'll see him again."
For his grief-stricken uncle, it all became too much to bear. Devera, who considered Roland like a son, fell to the pavement and sobbed.
"To all you parents, just continue to love your children no matter what and cherish every moment," Dino Javier said.
Roland would have turned 18 next month.
The case is classified as a negligent homicide and vehicle theft. Officers arrested the driver and then released him pending further investigation.