A 17-year-old boy walking home from a funeral was killed by a hit-and-run driver while crossing the street in Queens Tuesday evening, authorities say.
Ovidio Jaramillo was in a crosswalk at Northern and Junction boulevards in Jackson Heights just before 11 p.m. when he was hit by a black Toyota Camry that was headed west on Northern Boulevard. Cops say that the sedan kept going after the impact.
Jaramillo, a junior at St. John's Prep in Astoria, was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities say.
Witness Ed Lopez said "the guy hit him so hard, by the time he hit the ground, the car was gone."
"The guy was speeding, moving so fast," he said. "He accelerated after he hit him."
Friends were in disbelief as they mourned a kind young man who was always willing to help anyone in need.
"We would spend hours together every summer," said Luis Taveras. "It's just terrible to see him go now."
"How can you just hit somebody?" he continued. "Don't you feel guilty, don't you want to stop and see if the person's OK?"
Jaramillos' grandmother was in tears outside the family home, and said in Spanish he was an only child. His mother is devastated, she said.
A mass was held at the school Wednesday afternoon to honor Jaramillo, and after-school activities were canceled, according to a statement on the school's website.
"Our prayers are with his family and friends in this difficult time," the statement read.
Jaramillo, who they called Dan, was part of a youth social group that afforded friends from all across the city, according to teens who gathered for a vigil at the accident scene Wednesday evening.
"He always had a smile on his face and that's what you loved about him," said Anthony Rivera of Far Rockaway.
Justyna Jablopnska of Glendale was in tears as she remembered seeing Jaramillo last: "I saw him Monday, and I didn't even get to hug him to say goodbye. It was just like, 'Bye, Dan, see you tomorrow,' and those were my last words. I didn't know that I wasn't going to see my best friend anymore."
An anguished Raheem Soumahora of Jamaica wanted the driver to know: "For that person to hit him, I want that person to know that was someone's child. He was an only child."
The accident is the ninth one resulting in injury this year at the intersection, but the first instance where someone died.
Police are still looking for the Camry and its driver. They say it may have some front-end damage.
Anyone with information about the hit-and-run should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.