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.