TAMPA (FOX 13) - Joel Vargas-Gonzalez' family is still in shock after the loss of this hard-working father to four.
"My dad was an amazing man," said step-son 20-year-old Alberto Cuevas, who says Vargas-Gonzalez stepped in to help raise him at the age of four. "He would do everything he could to try and provide for his family, even when times were rough."
According to step-sons Alberto and Christopher Cuevas, the 35-year-old routinely worked from sun up to sun down to keep food on the table.
A middle school dropout, Vargas-Gonzalez may have been short on formal education, but was never short on ambition and work ethic. He owned his own car repair business and later worked as an A/C technician. He put in long hours, but was eventually able to buy his own cars and a house on 78th Street in Tampa.
"He showed how with hard work, you can accomplish anything," said Cuevas.
Vargas-Gonzalez was struck and killed by a wrong-way, drunk driver Sunday night on US-41 in Dover. His sons say he was returning home after he'd given their grandfather a ride home from a family Mother's Day celebration.
According to Florida Highway Patrol, 23-year-old Ronal Vasquez-Gonzalez was intoxicated and driving in the wrong direction on US-41 before hitting Vargas-Gonzalez head-on.
He faces charges of driving without a license and DUI manslaughter.
Vasquez-Gonzalez was also arrested earlier this year for driving without a license.