Friends and family celebrate the life of 21-year-old Austin Manke

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Published: Updated:
Austin Paul Manke, 21. Credit: Shared with WINK News.

Another family reeling after a deadly hit-and-run crash just said goodbye to their loved one. Austin Manke, 21 years old, was killed on Sunday. On Wednesday evening, his friends and family celebrated his life. They said Manke lived his life to the fullest.

Manke’s mother is saying goodbye to her “beautiful baby boy” in a room packed with people who loved her son. Friends, like Mike Bove, said Manke’s kind heart impacted everyone around him.

“You could be having the worst day of your life and you run into Austin and just have a quick conversation,” Bove said, “you feel that better about yourself.”

Friends said Manke also wrote music, played guitar and was an artist. A lot of his paintings were on display at the service Wednesday evening.

The suspect in the hit-and-run crash, Clody Gonzalez Vera, is out on bond — a process that many are not pleased with.

Many have voiced their concerns with the amount of bond that was granted to Vera on the WINK News Facebook page. When asked how someone who allegedly killed a person, then left the scene, was able to get such a low bond, he said his previous record could have played a factor.

“The $30,000..we in this county have certain scheduled bonds and it sounds like the judge is issuing the standard scheduled bond for this case for someone who has no prior record, who does have ties to the community and was able to demonstrate that there is no risk of him not appearing in court,” said attorney, Lance Dunford.

Another commenter voiced concern about the judge’s decision to give only a $30,000 bond and the ability to just check in with his attorney once a week, which allows him to remain out of jail.

“We’re innocent until proven guilty,” Dunford said. “Does this young man even realize that he’s done what has been alleged he’s done? That’s one of the criteria the State Attorney’s office has to prove is that this young man actually knew that he was in such an accident that could have caused this type of damage or death to someone.”

We also asked Dunford if it makes a difference whether or not Vera is found at fault for the crash. Vera’s attorney called this incident a “tragic accident.”

Dunford said in a short answer, “No, once he left the crash scene, he committed a felony and that is the charge he is facing.”

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