Parents, friends say Inez teen killed in wreck was 'pure country'
Colton Fitzpatrick loaded up his all-terrain vehicle Sunday from his father's house in Edna, gave him a hug and said, "I love you. See you later, Dad."
"We always told each other I love you," said Dee Fitzpatrick, the 19-year-old Inez teen's father. "He never missed saying that."
That was the last time he saw his son.
Texas Department of Public Safety troopers are investigating the fatal crash that occurred Sunday night on U.S. Highway 59 just north of the Victoria Regional Airport involving the teenager, his ATV and a tractor-trailer.
"When I found out about it, I just fell to my knees and broke down crying," Fitzpatrick said. "I said, 'God don't do this; he's too young for it.'"
His son graduated from Industrial High School in 2013 and got a job at Nagel Service Station in Edna. He was gearing up to enroll in the criminal justice program at Victoria College to fulfill a dream of being the ultimate outdoorsman - a game warden.
"He loved to be outside and outdoors; that had a lot to do with his ambition," his stepfather, Darren Hornstein, of Inez, said.
The teen was driving his four-wheeler across the highway at Beck Road when it was hit by a southbound tractor-trailer driven by Alvin Bryan Marroquin-Urrutia, 25, of Houston, said Department of Public Safety Trooper Gerald Bryant.
Bryant said the investigation is ongoing, and a toxicology report has been ordered as a standard practice.
Whether bow-fishing, hunting for white-tailed deer or playing in the mud on his four-wheeler like he was doing Sunday, he brought a smile to everyone who came into his life.
"He and his buddies, their favorite pastime was playing in the mud," Hornstein said. "That's what they were doing Sunday."
Parkway Church Pastor Mike Hurt said the teen attended worship services regularly with his mom, Susan, and stepfather.
"It's an impossible situation to get your arms wrapped around, but they're standing strong together," Hurt said.
The funeral service is tentatively set for Thursday at Parkway Church.
Friends and family describe him as being "country to the bone."
He was 7 years old when he caught his first catfish.
"When it got on that line, it bent the pole. ... I moved to the front of the boat to help him and just told him to reel it in," his father said. "You should have seen the big smile on his face. He was so happy, so proud of it."
Soon after, he shot his first buck.
"I was just so proud of him," his father said. "He was wonderful. I miss him, that's for sure."
He was the kind of guy who loved his family, who was polite and respectful, patient and hardworking. If anyone needed help, they could count on him.
Matthew Bellanger, 18, of Inez, graduated from Industrial High School in 2013 with Fitzpatrick.
"Colton was a funny guy, funny as in 'redneck funny,'" Bellanger said. "Lots of people liked him, and he had a whole lot of friends. He was pure country."
The two took biology and English classes together.
"The most important thing is that he's remembered as a really good, fun-loving guy," Bellanger said.
Ardy Tiner, an agriculture teacher at Industrial High School, remembered Fitzpatrick as a hard-working student when he was in his class as a junior and senior.
"He didn't cause trouble or go looking for it," Tiner said.
Recently, the two had dinner and a conversation together at a birthday party.
"He said everything was going good," Tiner said. "It seemed like everything was going perfect. It was a good meeting to remember him by."
Mendy Hart, 38, of Morales, met the teen through her daughter, Sarah Ellis.
"He was a well-mannered young man and helped us do some stuff around our house," she said. "He was so kind."
He said "yes, ma'am" and "no, ma'am."
"He was a good old country boy with respect that most kids these days don't have," Hart said. "He will be greatly missed."
Fitzpatrick is survived by his mother and stepfather, Susan and Darren Hornstein, and father and stepmother Dee and Macrina Fitzpatrick, and sisters Chelsey, Christy and Jessica.