Sarah Plant said she and her family had to be Jack Tenhulzen's voice, since no family had come forward for the 69-year-old.
Plant and her family set up a makeshift memorial along the 4000 block of Mission Avenue in Oceanside where Tenhulzen was believed to have been struck by a car.
Nearly 20 people showed up to pay their respects and pray for the slain man, including a friend of the suspected drunk driver, Esteysi Sanchez. Junior Rivera said he felt torn because it was a terrible tragedy, but he also described Sanchez as a good mother, wife and friend.
On Monday around 6:20 a.m., Oceanside police say 29-year-old Sanchez hit Tenhulzen with her car as he walked on the sidewalk. Police say the victim's body became wedged in the windshield as Sanchez continued to drive for nearly a mile before parking then walking home.
Police say they were contacted by Sanchez's husband and she was arrested at her home shortly after.
The community believes Tenhulzen was walking to Brother Benno's Oceanside Soup Kitchen, where they serve breakfast to the homeless.
Some people became emotional at the vigil, expressing their sadness over the way Tenhulzen died, as well as their concern over drinking and driving.
Carolina Camarena brought her children to the vigil to teach them the possible deadly consequences of drinking and driving.
Plant is planning another vigil at the same location on Monday, July 4 at 7 p.m.