EL CAMPO, Texas — James and Ashley O'Canas are speaking out about the drinking and driving accident that killed their son, 17-year-old James Russell O'Canas Jr., last month.
They're hoping their son's story can save others.
"Nothing can bring him back, this is hard," said his father James.
Investigators say on January 12, Edith Melendez, a bartender at BreWingZ restaurant served a dozen pitchers of beer to Russell and his 19-year-old friend Lee Cruz Trevino. Surveillance video shows she never asked for ID.
The teens left the bar with Trevino behind the wheel.
"His last text to me was 'love you mama,'" said his mother Ashley.
The car erupted in flames after Trevino lost control and crashed into a tree. A witness managed to pull Trevino out, but Trevino fled the scene leaving Russell behind. He died in that burning car.
"It was the hardest time of my life, not knowing if my son was alive or dead," said Ashley.
"It still feels like a dream," said James. I wait here everyday for him to pop up and come through that door and say how was your day. But I can't have that no more."
Both Melendez and Trevino now face multiple charges for their decisions that night. Trevino will be back in court Monday.
"So many things that could have gone differently," said James. "Everybody made bad choices that night. The brothers, Lee, the server made bad choices. They have to take responsibility for what happened."
Russell's parents say they don't blame anyone but are channeling their grief into a message they pray touches every person watching.
"Everyday you see there's another accident," said Ashley. "There's another drunk driver, another family going through this. It's too much."
They want teens to know drinking and driving changes lives and has irreparable consequences that shatters families forever.
"Don't get behind the wheel," said Ashley. "It can happen so quick. Then there's no tomorrow."
Trevino's 25-year-old brother has also been charged with providing alcohol to minors before the accident that night.
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