Grieving mother of hit-and-run victim demands charges


REDDING, Calif. - The mother of 16-year-old Mark Vargas said the man who hit her son needs to be held responsible.

"I didn't want to think the worst would come," said Vargas' mother, Jennifer Jackson as she fought back tears on Sunday.

Jackson learned Saturday her son was brain dead after he was hit riding his skateboard in the area of Court and Gold Streets in Redding.

The alleged driver who hit him is 62-year-old Kenneth Reed of Cedarville.

On Sunday Reed's car, with significant damage to the front fender and windshield, was discovered at the Motel 6 in Redding.

Reed told police he thought he hit an animal. He was not taken into custody.

On Saturday Vargas went into surgery. Suffering head injuries and multiple broken bones doctors told Jackson they were unsure when or if he would wake up.

After surgery he seemed OK.

Jackson went home to rest and a little later she called to check on her son at the hospital.

"And they said, 'Oh you need to come in because his brain is swelling and he is dying.'"

For the next few days Vargas will remain on life support, his organs will be donated.

Jackson thankful his spirit will live on.

"Just because I'm going through sadness and loss, somebody else doesn't have to."

While Jackson's son remains in the hospital, Reed, is not in custody.

He told police he thought he hit an animal. Jackson isn't so sure.

"I just don't buy he hit an animal and he didn't stop. My son is six feet tall, almost 200 pounds and the extent of damage to his car couldn't be done by an animal," she explained.

"He did this. He took my son and he needs to face some kind of charges," she continued.

But through the pain there has been support.

Jackson said she has received a tremendous amount of prayers and thoughts from people not only in the Northstate but across the country.

"I'm very blessed. What has happened to my son has touched a lot of people and I'm very thankful for their prayers and their well wishes."

The Shasta County District Attorney's Office said they have not yet received the case.

A fund to help Vargas' family is in the process of being created and a candlelight vigil is being planned.