Clayton restaurant holds fundraiser for student hit, killed by car

CLAYTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- On Tuesday, the restaurant where a Clayton High School senior, who died last week worked at, held a Donation Night to assist his family.

Eighteen-year-old Gustavo Valadez was hit by a car and killed shortly before 7 a.m. on Thursday as he attempted to cross the street on his walk to school.

"I did not believe it, I was in complete denial. It just didn't seem real," explained Brynne Haller, a classmate and co-worker of Valadez's.

The teen, along with his brother, worked at Venero's Pizzeria in Clayton.

Valadez was described as a hard worker by his coworkers.

"He was quiet but once you got to know him he was funny, and he just made everybody laugh," Haller said.

Police believe the driver was paying attention and going the speed limit, and do not plan to file any charges.

Valadez was hit close to the intersection of South Lombard Street and Barber Mill Road, near West Clayton Elementary School.

Authorities also noted the dark and rainy weather conditions that may have played a role.

Valadez's funeral was held Tuesday afternoon, followed by the Donation Night. The restaurant was packed for hours with customers; many of whom were classmates and teachers who showing up to support the family.

"It's so amazing to see how many people want to support this family throughout everything they're going through because even though we don't know them personally, they are still considered family to us," said Mary-Grayce Narron, a Clayton High sophomore who came with her family.

The restaurant accepted donations from customers and pledged to donate a percentage of checks from dinner.

A staffer told ABC11 that firefighters who responded to Thursday's scene stopped by later that day and made a donation.
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