Utah family mourns 4-year-old boy killed by alleged drunken driver

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The family of a 4-year-old boy killed Saturday by a man suspected of drunken driving returned to the spot where he died to mourn Sunday evening.

“He’ll be missed. … We love him,” the boy’s father, Brett Curtis, told FOX 13. He encouraged other parents “to hug your kids extra tight for us. No parent wants this, but we know that we’ll see him again and we can’t wait.”

Holden Curtis and his mother were struck by a car that police say was driven by Carl Wayne Johnson, 56, near 900 West and California Avenue shortly before 11 a.m. Saturday. According to a probable cause statement, Johnson told police he’d had “two beers” that morning.

The boy died at the scene; his mother was transported to a hospital with leg injuries that were not life-threatening.

On Sunday evening, family members returned to the intersection and left messages, pictures, flowers, candles, toys and balloons.

“We’re finding comfort that he was too good for this world. He touched so many lives in such a short amount of time, that his mission was done here,” the boy’s stepmother, Janna Curtis, told FOX 13. “That’s how we’re coping and finding comfort, and trying to move through this process, as difficult as this is.”

“He was the happiest, best friend that anyone could ask for,” the family wrote on a GoFundMe page created to solicit donations for funeral expenses. “He had a joy for life that was contagious to all he came in contact with. He touched so many lives in his short time on Earth, and it is hard to imagine continuing on without him.”

Johnson was booked into Salt Lake County jail on suspicion of automobile homicide, a second-degree felony; DUI with serious bodily injury, a third-degree felony; and other traffic-related offenses.

Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune and FOX 13 are content-sharing partners.