Gavin Gladding: A Man to Remember

Picture taken in front of the seating area dedicated to Gavin Gladding.

Sept. 16, marks the three year anniversary of the fatal hit and run crash that killed a man named Gavin Gladding, a father of two and a Vice Principal at Fort Washington. 

Gladding spent his life in other roles such as a teacher, a school administrator,a peace Corp Member and a coach.

According to ABC30, he joined Clovis Unified in 2005 as a science teacher for Alta Sierra Intermediate and Clovis West High School and joined Fort Washington in 2015. 

“His focus [was] on improving the world around him, one act of kindness at a time,” said Kelly Avants, Chief Communication Officer at Clovis Unified School District. 

Members of Fort Washington Elementary, the school community, students, family members, and media were invited to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for a student gathering area dedicated to Gladding. 

“What I can say is that when we lost Mr.Gladding it had an exponential impact on the community” said Avants, “he was someone who had a joy for living that he transferred to students.”

While he was Vice Principal at Fort Washington, and being an avid runner himself, he encouraged students in the annual Turkey Trot fundraiser. 

“He supported students in their co-curricular activities and made sure everything ran smoothly,” said Avants. 

The current principal of Fort Washington, Melanie Hashimoto, spoke of the location of the new gathering area. 

“As Vice Principal he was often out on the fields where the student life is super abundant,” said Avants.

At 43-years-old, Gladding was jogging along Friant Road when a truck, driven by Rogelio Alvarez-Maravilla, his girlfriend Fernanda Lopez in the passenger seat, hit him. 

The two in the truck drove off, Alvarez-Maravilla waited five days before confessing his crimes. 

Lopez had even proposed fixing Alvarez-Marvilla’s truck to get rid of the evidence with the help of a third party member, 23-year old Moises Valdez-Guerrero. 

Investigators in the case say they received a tip earlier in the day at the same time an attorney called to report the crime(s). 

They seized his parents’ dark blue Chevy Silverado, the truck that was involved in the crime, and found a dented right front fender, a large dent on the passenger side door, and dents on the window frame.

According to later reports by ABC30, there was broken glass inside the truck when it was found, and they spotted suction cup imprints on what appeared to be a new windshield. 

“I feel deeply sorry for the actions I have taken,” said Valdez-Guerrero. “I wish I would’ve never gotten involved in this. It was a mistake”

At 18-years-old, Alvarez-Maravilla was being tried for the following crimes:  leaving the scene of an accident, vehicular manslaughter, driving without a license and destruction of evidence.

At the end of the trial, Alavarez-Maravilla was sentenced to three years in prison for the accident that took Gladding’s life, but ended up being released after 13 months of being in custody.

As for Lopez, she was given three years in probation while Valdez-Guerrero was let off with no sentence. 

That February, in 2019, Gladding’s family met with lawmakers to introduce and propose Assembly 582, otherwise known as Gavin’s Law. 

Gavin’s law calls for harsh punishment for people who fail to stop at the scene of an accident, specifically ones that result in injury and death. 

Susan Gladding, Gladding’s wife, told, “my hope is that either the bill as it’s drafted or some version of this bill will actually get passed and, and it will be in honor of my husband.”

Currently the bill is still in the legislature, but it’s said to go before the Assembly in January. 

As hundreds of people from the community gathered on the field in their orange and grey ‘Glad ding Strong’ t-shirts in honor of G. Gladding’s memory, it was clear to see how impactful he was to the people of Clovis.

Sydney Morgan, currently a junior at Fresno State University, grew up in the sleepy town of Templeton, CA. With Lester Holt and Carrie Bradshaw as her journalist role models, she considers herself to have a more creative approach to her news and entertainment stories.