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Remembering Harker Heights Teen Killed In Crash

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(KCEN) – Family and friends are keeping the memory of 18-year old Harker Heights High School graduate Joseph Anthony Alaniz alive.

Joseph was killed in a car accident near Marble Falls early Tuesday morning.

A candle light vigil and balloon release was scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday at the school.

“I can't believe it. My baby is gone,” says Buffy Anderson, whose son Marcus played high school football with Joseph.

She’s one of many team parents who loved Joseph like he was their own son.

He called each of them, “Mom.”

“To know Joseph is to love Joseph,” Anderson says. “He hugged you, and you know you were loved.”

Another one of his honorary “moms,” Karen Moon, was also fond of his embrace.

“Joe easily picked me up off the ground, and my feet would just dangle. I think that's probably what I'm going to miss the most is the bear hugs and the, ‘Hey Mama.’"

Moon’s son, Damari’a, was also on the football team.

Both Damari’a his sister Kadija became Joseph’s best friends.

“He was my brother. He was my heart beat,” says Kadija.

Both 2014 graduates, Damari’a and Joseph had plans to attend Sam Houston State together in the fall.

Joseph wanted to become a pharmacist.

“He's so smart,” says Anderson with a smile.

Those dreams faded Tuesday when a deer in the road caused a vehicle carrying Joseph and three of his friends to roll eight times.

“I don't understand. I just don't understand,” Anderson says through tears. “I woke up at four o’clock in the morning, and when you hear there's been an accident, it's unbelievable.”

One of the other teens who was in the accident with Joseph was still in critical condition Wednesday.

The other two are staying with Anderson.

She says they're doing as best as can be expected.

 “Brandon was praying last night, and he said, ‘I was praying, and me and Joe were having a conversation,’” Anderson says.

That’s exactly how friends remember Joseph -- always there.

Kadija says, “He was the one I would call when I was crying, or sad, or upset. He was anything I needed him to be at the time.”

When it came to his friends, it didn’t matter the hour.

“Joseph was one of the kids who would wait up at night for the other kids to call him, he was the designated driver,” Anderson says.

Now, those who knew and loved him find comfort in knowing where he is.

“He's going to meet us at the gates, and he's going to tackle every one of us,” says Moon.

They know where he'll always be.

“He'll be there in my heart. That's where he lives,” Kadija says.

They also know his spirit lives on.

Joseph’s sister, Amanda, is pregnant.

She’s due to have Jaiden Anthony on July 13.

He’ll carry on Joseph’s middle name.

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