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Family of Northland DUI crash victim in shock over loss

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George Sykora lived just about a block away from the crash site at North Woodland Avenue and Northeast 102nd Terrace. George Sykora lived just about a block away from the crash site at North Woodland Avenue and Northeast 102nd Terrace.
Court records show 20-year-old Joseph C. Surratt, who caused the crash, had a blood-alcohol level of .255, which is more than three times the legal limit of .08. Court records show 20-year-old Joseph C. Surratt, who caused the crash, had a blood-alcohol level of .255, which is more than three times the legal limit of .08.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A family is grieving, but shock and loss for words came when hearing the driver that killed a Northland father was drunk, police say.

Court records show 20-year-old Joseph C. Surratt, who caused the crash, had a blood-alcohol level of .255, which is more than three times the legal limit of .08.

George Sykora lived just about a block away from the crash site at North Woodland Avenue and Northeast 102nd Terrace.

He was heading to get parts for the car when a car hit him head on.

"He was a great father to me. He was always there for me when I needed him. He was always giving me great advice," said 16-year-old Matthew Sykora, who saw the crash and his father's car as he was heading home from school Monday afternoon.

The grieving son says his father was a great man and always put others before himself.

Matthew Sykora is trying to stay strong for his mother and also his sister, Ashley, who rushed home from college in another state.

Her boyfriend was there to comfort her when she got off the plane.

"She wasn't in state when this happened. She just flew in last night, so it's been a pretty rough for her," said Quinn Blades, a family friend.

The family is keeping each other close as they learn to cope with the loss of their "rock" at the hands of a driver who, prosecutors say, was drunk.

Surratt told detectives that he drank three beers the morning of the crash but that he was not drunk when the crash occurred. His eyes were bloodshot and glassy, his speech was confused and slurred and he had trouble standing, according to court documents.

"An innocent man was taken from his family before his time," Blades said.

Tracy Sykora says she and her husband have been married for 22 years. She is praying for the suspect and his family.

The Clay County Prosecutor's Office charged Surratt with first-degree involuntary manslaughter. Surratt remains in an area hospital and has not made his first court appearance.

The family announced services and a memorial fund for George Sykora:

A visitation will be held Friday from 5-7:30 p.m. at the King of Kings Lutheran Church, located at 1701 NE 96th St. Kansas City, MO, 64155.

Funeral services will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at King of Kings Lutheran Church.

Those wishing to donate to the memorial fund can mail contributions to the Community America Credit Union at 6390 N. Cosby Ave. in Kansas City, MO, 64151.

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