Community mourns loss of 7-year-old girl who died in Lexington hit-and-run

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LEXINGTON, N.C. – Family, friends and classmates are mourning the loss of 7-year-old Jzabel Vital Guadalupe.

The young girl was a first-grade student at Charles England Elementary School in Lexington. Her classmate, 6-year-old Rory Trout, says she'll be missed.

"We want her to come back to earth," Trout said. "She was a great person and we wish we could see her again.”

Guadalupe was initially taken to Lexington Memorial Hospital, then to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where she died, according to the nursing supervisor.

Lexington police say Guadalupe was the victim in a New Year's Day hit-and-run crash that happened outside of her home.

Jose Juvenal-Vital Villicana, 41, faces charges including driving while impaired, felony hit and run with a serious injury and aggravated felony serious injury by vehicle.

The crash happened near the intersection of West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Sharpe Street at about 7:30 p.m. Friday, according to authorities.

The suspect was arrested after authorities found the suspect’s vehicle, a 2005 white Chevrolet Express work van, in the area of Bristol Street. The van was seized and the suspect was taken into custody.

The investigation is ongoing and police said that they would consult with the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office for further charges against Villicana.

Authorities on the scene said they believe the driver of the vehicle had been drinking. He has been convicted of driving while impaired three previous times, according to online records.

The suspect also faces charges of driving with an open container and driving with a revoked license.

Community members have started a GoFundMe account to help the victim’s family with expenses.

Tasha Melton, a former teaching assistant of the child, says the girl was bright, passionate and talented.

“Things just start to flood your mind. The memories, the pictures, the time you spent, the work you put in with the child. So, it’s heartbreaking,” Melton said.