Though Roger Lewis left Arcadia High School more than a year ago, his classmates never forgot him, and as word of his death spread Wednesday, students were left devastated.
The school had grief counselors on hand to help students and faculty process the loss, Principal Brent Forsee said.
Lewis got hit by a car while riding his bike Saturday and died of his injuries Tuesday morning. Police say he was not wearing a helmet, as required by law for minors. Authorities have not charged the 26-year-old motorist who hit Lewis with any crime.
"He was a very wise speaker. He was almost my role model," junior Showta Moriyama said. "He gave me some lectures and lessons about life."
The two had become friends during their freshman year history class. Moriyama, who plays golf for the Apaches, said he once "felt down" after performing poorly in a tournament, so Lewis gave him a pep talk.
"He told me, 'You're going to have to go through other negative stages, so stay happy now and live life to the fullest,'" Moriyama said. "I really miss him and wish I could talk to him...He was really loved by everyone."
Christine Eskander, also a junior, laughed as she recounted the time Lewis dressed up as the Sasha Baron Cohen character Bruno for Halloween.
"He was really sweet," she said. "He was always cracking jokes in class. If anyone was sad, he'd cheer them up."
Lewis loved his Apple gadgets almost as much as he loved a good joke, Eskander said.
"He'd bring every single laptop he had to class and pass them out to everyone."
Eskander said the news of Lewis' death shocked her.
"I didn't know what to think. Someone I knew, I had had a class with, is gone. He's not there anymore. Oh, Roger," she sighed, her eyes misting.
Several students took to Lewis' Facebook page to express their grief and share their memories of the teen, who had "phenomenal taste in music" and "wore hipster clothes in 100-degree weather."
"We're still going to Florida the summer we turn eighteen, right? We've been talking about it for-ever," wrote a friend using the handle Conri Eternity. "I don't know about you, but we definitely need another trip down to Long Beach."
Emmanuel Realzola recalled Lewis' "hyper and happy" personality.
"Sorry you had to go, man:/It shouldn't have been you man...going to miss you man," he wrote.
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Meanwhile, no new details have emerged about the accident, which occurred shortly before 10 p.m. on Saturday at the intersection of Santa Anita Avenue and Duarte Road.
According to the preliminary investigation report released by the Arcadia Police Department, Lewis was stopped for a red arrow in the southbound left turn lane. When the signal for southbound through traffic turned green, he swerved to the right — straight into the path of a vehicle.
Police have not yet released the identity of the motorist, but spoksperson Lt. Tom LeVeque said alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the crash.