Family pleads for help in solving fatal I-88 hit-and-run

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The family of a 17-year-old hit-and-run victim hopes someone can provide a clue to help them find closure after their son's death.

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

Illinois State Police say Emilio Perez was killed in a hit-and-run accident on Saturday, March 8, 2014.  His car had run out of gas, and he was walking on the inside shoulder of Interstate 88 westbound near the Joslin exit. The teenager from Villa Park, Illinois, was then sideswiped by a passing vehicle.

Wednesday, Emilio's father, Al Perez, made an emotional plea for help at the Illinois State Police headquarters in East Moline.

"Emilio was my son. He was my boy," said Perez. "Just the day before, on March 7th, he celebrated his 17th birthday. He had his whole life ahead of him. Emilio loved life, loved his friends, loved his community, loved his high school, his teammates, and his family."

Illinois State Police have reconstructed a side view mirror found at the scene of the crash. They believe that mirror was a part of the Chevrolet or GMC pickup truck or SUV that hit Perez.

"Perhaps somebody recently got rid of their truck or SUV without a good explanation, or they're making repairs on their own and not filing an insurance claim," said Master Sergeant Chris Endress.

Both the Perez family and Illinois State Police are asking anyone who has seen a vehicle that matches this description or who saw anything while traveling I-88 around 7:20 p.m. March 8th to contact Illinois State Police District 7 at 309-752-4915.

"We don't believe this to be an intentional act of striking Emilio. It's an intentional act to continue driving down the road, but there may have been an explanation as to why that happened, and we just want that person to come forward," said Endress.

Anyone with information can also contact Crime Stoppers at 309-762-9500.

"I'm pleading to you as a father, as a family," said Perez. "Please, make that call."

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 cash reward for information that leads to a felony arrest. The family and friends of Emilio are also offering an additional $9,000 reward for information.


  • TF

    In the majority of these hit and run cases, it was purely an accident, and the driver of the vehicle panicked and fled not knowing what else to do. People are usually quick to bad mouth people who flee hit and runs, but not all of them are bad people, just scared.

  • Janelle B

    You are correct, it WAS an accident, but when the driver didn’t stop, it’s no longer an accident. They could’ve turned themselves in but they haven’t. And THAT makes them a heartless, murderer in my book. If the person that did this has a soul, they’ll come forward and confess. And if there are people that know what happened, they too should come forward and at the least give the family some closure.

    And “TF”, you cannot seriously be defending someone who hit an innocent child and left them for dead on the side of the road?! A family lost their loved one and all you can think about is the driver?

  • young_j

    How could you TF whats wrong with you. I went to this school and felt pain and deep sorrow. May he rest in peace thats messed up I wish nothing more than death for this sorry driver who didnt even stop at least. School has mot been the same since.

  • Jake

    I miss Emilio he was such a cool kid. He died young. I’ve known him for almost my whole life. It was sad at the funeral. Why wouldn’t the driver stop why couldn’t he stop and see. That’s not fair to Emilio and his family. I will miss him and a lot of people will. There is nothing we can do except help. Whoever hit him should turn himself in. If not he is not a good person. If anyone knows anything tell the police please you are letting a family suffer please help please.

  • John Peters

    I am not surprised that somebody left the scene of the accident. People like that are the same people who flip you because you are going the speed limit. They paid too much for their car and they think they own the road and the laws and regulations don’t applied to them. I hope that they have somebody in their life that will make them take responsibility for killing this young man.

  • Angie

    This was a terrible accident! I really don’t think someone is going to intentionally hit someone walking on the side of the road. I get what you are saying, the driver probably was scared or perhaps the driver may have been drinking that night and scared to get a DUI so they continue driving or perhaps the driver may have nodded off behind the wheel and hit something unknowing that it was a human being maybe they thought it was a deer. Whatever the reason it is a tragedy that a young boy lost his life at the expense of a driver. I do hope the driver comes forward to give closure to the family.

  • TF

    The people who replied to me are idiots. I did not justify leaving the scene, I simply said that sometimes the drivers are scared of what they did. Some of them flee not because they’re wanting to save their own bacon. They flee because they don’t want to believe what happened.

    Do not, I repeat, do not instantly judge someone and talk bad about them because they leave the scene. In some cases, they do call police or return to the scene.

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