WICHITA, Kansas --
Venancio Perez, 38 was just a few blocks away from making it home when Wichita Police said a suspect crashed a stolen truck into Perez's truck killing him instantly.
The victim's coworkers are hoping to keep his memory alive.
A black colored bow is hanging outside of the Super Del Centro grocery store on Woodlawn for a special reason.
Workers here are remembering a man who they say was more than just a coworker.
"We're all like family," said Manager Cynthia Ariza, Super Del Centro. "So it's a big part that's missing now that he's gone."
Venancio Perez, 38 worked as a manager for the meat department and news of his death is still a shock for coworkers.
"It's hard walking through the door and he would always been in the back waving at me saying hi," said Ariza. "Now I just walk in and he's not there anymore."
We're told Perez was driving home from running an errand when Wichita Police started chasing after suspect who fled from them.
Booking records identified the suspect as Keith Ritz, 34.
But before police could catch up to the suspect's vehicle, the stolen truck crashed into Perez's truck.
"An innocent citizen died because of the driver's action," said Chief Normal Williams, Wichita Police Department. "The fact that he made those decisions to drive a stolen vehicle, made the decision to drive at a high rate of speed, made the decision to run the stop sign thereby killing the 38-year-old gentleman."
Coworkers say his life shouldn't have ended like that.
"It was just so sad," said Ariza. "We're going to try to keep his memory going. He's been with us for so long that it's hard to even think about living without him or working without him."
Perez was less than 5 minutes away from home on Tuesday, but now a makeshift memorial marks the spot where he was killed.
A visitation is scheduled for Friday evening between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. at Broadway Mortuary.
Memorial and burial services will take place in Mexico.
Super Del Centro is currently accepting donations to help pay for Perez's memorial. If you would like to help you can visit any of the 4 grocery store locations in Wichita.
- 1770 N. Broadway St. (316) 303- 0020
- 808 S. Woodlawn Blvd. (316) 612- 4956
- 2425 S. Hillside St. (316) 239- 6622
- 1560 S. Main St. (316) 265- 1803