Hit-and-run victim’s car found a mile from his body

A teen who died when he was struck by a vehicle on Interstate 88 near Joslin, Illinois, ran out of gas about a mile from where he was hit.

Emilio Perez, from Villa Park, Illinois, was struck by a vehicle along the westbound lanes of I-88 near mile marker 6 at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8, 2014.  State Police said the vehicle that hit Perez then left the scene of the crash.  Perez was pronounced dead at the scene.

Perez’s vehicle was found about a mile east of where he was struck.  His car was out of gas.

“It’s horrible to have to learn a lesson like this, but anytime that you have vehicle troubles, please, if your vehicle isn’t in the active lane of traffic, stay in your vehicle, because that’s probably going to be the safest place for you,” said Trooper Jason Wilson with the Illinois State Police District 7.

Perez was a student at Willowbrook High School.

State Police initially said they were searching for a truck or SUV with a missing driver’s side mirror and damage to the driver’s side headlight.

A driver's side mirror similar to this one was found at the scene of a hit-and-run wreck that killed Emilio Perez along I-88 near Joslin.  Police did not know the color of the suspect vehicle.

A driver’s side mirror similar to this one was found at the scene of a hit-and-run wreck that killed Emilio Perez along I-88 near Joslin. Police did not know the color of the suspect vehicle.

After they reconstructed pieces of the mirror found at the crash scene, police said they believe the suspect vehicle is an unknown-color Chevrolet Tahoe or Silverado, model year between 1999 and 2002.  Investigators still say the vehicle would have damage to the driver’s side headlight, and it would be missing the driver’s side heated mirror.

“We’re hoping that by giving the vehicle’s description, maybe somebody knows a neighbor that came home with damage to their vehicle, but no real explanation why, or maybe they said they hit an animal in the roadway,” said Wilson.

Immediately after the crash, State Police disseminated all available information via radio to law enforcement in Iowa, Wisconsin, and northern Illinois.

“It’s something that we have to possibly face, that the vehicle might not be local. The good thing is, in the area that it happened, there’s a lot of local roads. So, it’s very possible that this still could be a local vehicle,” said Wilson.

So far, police have not found anyone who may have seen the vehicle or the crash.

If you saw anything related to the hit-and-run, you’re asked to contact Illinois State Police at (309) 752-4915.

“In this case, it’s extremely important,” said Wilson. “Maybe the public saw something that didn’t seem very interesting to them, or maybe they didn’t think it was a big deal, but they may have information that will help us be able to solve the case,” said Wilson.

Funeral services were planned for Emilio Perez for Friday, March 14 in Villa Park.

13 comments

  • Lou

    What are the details regarding who found the victim, where was it reported, time factor regarding the accident and when found?

  • Mark

    This was a special child whose birth mother gave him up to have a better life. He didn’t deserve this. Please whoever you are turn yourself in.

  • Bill

    this was my nephew, who was a very special kid that was loved by many and who will be missed dearly. do the right thing and step forward you know who you are.

  • Tammy

    Bill sorry for your loss. Emilio was one of my daughters best friends , He was a wonderful kid, so polite and such a character, we thought the world of him and miss him like crazy, please please do the right thing and come forward

    • Mark

      I really hope this person comes forward soon. It would bring closure to so many. I have heard about Emilio almost daily for years, and had to break the news to his birth mother. She wanted him to have a good life and he turned out to be a great young man. It is touching to see how many lives he has touched. I can only hope whoever did this can realize this, and bring this to an end on his terms.

  • Sarah

    Emilio’s birth mother passed away almost seven years ago. She must have needed her son with her. May they both rest in peace.

  • Greg

    The tollway logs every vehicle that passes thru every toll. I-pass info is kept, and license plates are photographed and matched to corresponding I-passes if the car has one. There is a small time window, and not rush hour, so hard could it be to identify every vehicle that passed the scene???

  • Joel

    This shouldn’t be hard to solve, on a Tollway (i.e. the offender paid a toll) that is supposedly covered 100% by cameras.

    • Mark

      Ya, well they seem to be struggling with an arrest. Everyday this driver is out there getting to spend a day with his family that Emilio didn’t get. I hope his disregard for what he did allows First Degree charges and not some lesser charge without penalty

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