A 14-year-old boy who just moved from Elgin to Colorado died Friday afternoon when a car jumped a curb, hitting him and a friend, his mother said Saturday.
Robbie Fehlman, of Lakewood, Colo., was walking with his friend, also 14, at about 5 p.m. Friday when the tragedy happened, Mary Fehlman said.
Rhonda Kay Romero, 40, was arrested and charged with one count of vehicular homicide and one count of careless driving, Lakewood Police Sgt. Randy McNitt said.
"We believe that prescription medications may have played a role in the accident, so we're investigating that angle," he said.
Robbie and his friend were going to the friend's house with plans to have pizza and watch a movie, Mary Fehlman said. Robbie died at the scene, while his friend suffered an ankle injury, she said.
Robbie grew up in Elgin and had just finished the 8th grade at Larson Middle School. He and his mother moved two weeks ago to Colorado to join Robbie's sister, Lissa, 25, a St. Edward Central Catholic High School alumna and former honorary co-captain of the Daily Herald's All-Area softball team.
Robbie had two older brothers, Michael, 26, of Chicago, and Christopher, 22, of Elgin. All four children had been adopted, said Mary Fehlman, whose husband Dave died five years ago. Mary Fehlman worked as an administrative assistant at Greater Elgin Family Care Center.
Mary Fehlman said she and her daughter Lissa bought a house together, and Robbie was really excited about joining his big sister.
"After my husband died, I decided life's too short to not do what you want. It seemed like a good time, with Robbie going from grammar to high school," she said.
Robbie was a really sociable, friendly boy, his mother said.
"He was so outgoing he had a million friends," she said. Robbie had 1,165 friends on his Facebook page. "They're not fly-by-nights either; they're really friends," she added.
His best friend Ryan Morrisroe, 14, of Elgin, just spent two weeks in Colorado with the Fehlmans, after driving out there with Robbie and his mother in mid-June. He last saw his friend on Tuesday.
"Robbie was amazing. He would make a joke about everything, but when it came down to it, he knew how to be serious," he said. "I looked up to him. He was really just a charismatic, caring guy. Everyone loved him because he was so funny and so well-rounded. I guess Mary raised him right."
Robbie had played football with the St. Edwards Crusaders in Elgin, and his favorite number was Walter Payton's 34, which he wore whenever it was available, Mary Fehlman said.
In Colorado, he was taking the football and basketball sports camp at the local high school, and the football coach was so impressed that he wanted Robbie to play varsity football in the fall, as a freshman, Mary Fehlman said.
He was about to start driver's ed classes on Monday, and wanted to become an athletic trainer someday, she said.
On her Facebook page, Mary Fehlman wrote: "That's what's killing me -- he was on the cusp of a great future and he (and us) have been royally cheated. I'm trying to remember him as I last saw him alive, going out the door with his backpack slung over his shoulder, excited with his pizza and movie plans for the evening," she wrote.
"My only consolation is that he's now with Dave making up for the time that he missed out on."
Robbie's funeral will take place in Elgin, but a date has yet to be scheduled pending Robbie's autopsy and donation of his organs, his mother said.