KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The father of an 8-year-old boy killed by a garbage truck says his family is in shock.
“Man, I just never would have thought this would happen at all,” said De’Andre Baker, who said he’s living the worst time of his life.
“It’s a terrible nightmare. I just want to wake up for real, but I know it’s all real,” Baker told Fox 4's Robert Townsend during an exclusive interview just three days after losing his 8-year-old son, Dra’Viontay Baker.
De'Andre Baker said his son was a free spirit.
“He liked to have fun, and he was real energetic and goofy --- real goofy just like me," the heartbroken dad said. "Every time I look at his picture, it just hurts."
Dra'Viontay's stepmother echoed De'Andre Baker's heartbreak and love for the boy.
“He loved his siblings especially his baby sister," a smiling Tanisha Garrett said about her stepson. "All the time he clanged to her and she clanged to him."
"He was just a great kid," said Kalvin Loyd, Dra'Viontay's maternal grandfather, whom he was living with. "He and his mom lived here with me and my wife. I will just miss seeing him and him being here with us."
Family, friends and neighbors also cannot stop thinking about Dra’Viontay’s hurting mom.
“He was my sister’s only child. We loved him so, so much. My sister hasn’t really talked since he died. She just keeps crying, “ Dra’Viontay’s aunt told Fox 4’s Robert Townsend late Monday night after the family returned home still visibly shaken.
De’Andre Baker said Friday afternoon Dra’Viontay, a third-grader at Truman Elementary, left school and was excited about spending another weekend with his dad.
But one phone call changed all that.
“A neighbor across the street called me," De'Andre Baker said. "When she told me what was going on, I dropped the phone, and I just started shaking my head like 'Hold on, no!' I then picked my phone back up and everybody on the phone was crying. I couldn’t get there fast enough."
No one could believe Dra’Viontay -- who was outside his home, riding his wagon and playing with a 9-year-old buddy for just a few minutes -- had been hit by a garbage truck. The tragedy happened just two weeks before Christmas.
“My boy died at that scene," De'Andre Baker said. "That truck’s tire was on his little body. As for Christmas, it won’t be the same and I’m not really feeling it, but I will do it for his sisters and brother. I had already bought him the scooter he wanted, and I was going to get him the one thing he really wanted: a hover board with Bluetooth, but now I can’t."
Garrett said she believes prayers help a lot.
“No one should ever go through that with a child," she said. "All the support and reaching out, it’s helping, but it will never be the same."
Family and friends will gather Tuesday for a balloon release around a memorial at East 100th Street and Drury Avenue where Dra’Viontay lost his young life.
Dra'Viontay's funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Graceway Church in Raytown. The visitation will also be at the church from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Two Go Fund Me pages have been set up to assist the boy’s family with his funeral expenses.