Lyft driver killed remembered as great person and 'helper'

Posted at 8:42 PM, Oct 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-03 23:51:38-04

The Lyft driver who was struck and killed on State Route 94 by a hit-and-run driver early Saturday morning left behind a wife, 2-year-old son and dreams of becoming a dentist.

"He was going to college to finish dental school, at the same time he was taking care of our son in the morning," his wife, Claudia Mendez, said.

Reyes was killed in the crash that happened near the Grant Hill area in San Diego at around 1:11 a.m., only an hour into his birthday.

"We were heartbroken to learn of the tragic hit-and-run accident that took the life of a Lyft driver," said Alexandra LaManna, a Lyft spokeswoman. "Our deepest condolences are with the victim’s family and friends during this incredibly difficult time."

Reyes, 41, was transporting three women who were out drinking Friday night.  One of the women reported feeling sick and began vomiting in his vehicle, according to the medical examiner.

Reyes stopped his vehicle on the shoulder of eastbound SR-94 between the 25th and 28th avenue exit ramps and stepped out of the car to help the woman. 

The suspect vehicle struck Reyes and his red Kia.  All three Lyft passengers were still inside the KIA when officers arrived.

The suspect vehicle fled the crash but was located down the freeway embankment.  The occupants inside the suspect vehicle fled the scene but were taken into custody near 28th and G streets, according to CHP.

"He was a great person, he helped with the Good Samaritans charity for dental work in TJ for the needy people," Mendez said. "I love him to death. I don't know what else to say. I'm hurting. He's the father of my son, I love him."

Reyes' sister said him helping the women he was driving is what came naturally to him.

"Henry was a helper, he was always cheerful, I know that he loved to help people," Evette Roux said.

Rose Dental Group posted a tribute to their former dental assistant.

"We are obviously devastated this happened on his birthday. I was supposed to come over here to celebrate his birthday and instead I'm not," his sister said.

The driver of the vehicle who struck Reyes is facing murder and DUI charges. He had no California driver's license and he was arrested last year for DUI.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for funeral expenses and to help out Reyes' son.