ISANTI, Minn. (KMSP) - The Isanti County sheriff’s office says the driver of a white pickup truck may not have realized they struck and killed a 15-year-old skateboarder Thursday night, but they’re still trying to find the vehicle.
According to a witness, Antonio Demeules was wearing dark clothing and riding his skateboard down the centerline of 285th Avenue, just east of Highway 65, moments before he was hit by the truck.
The accident was reported to police at 8:16 p.m. Thursday. Video from a nearby business shows a white, standard cab pickup truck with a topper traveling westbound on 285th Avenue. There were no witnesses to the actual crash, but a passerby found Demeules lying in the middle of the road, and the previously-mentioned driver saw the boy riding in the street prior to the accident.
“It is believed that the suspect vehicle may not have known they hit a child due to the small stature of the child, that he was in the middle of the road wearing dark clothing and it was almost dark out,” the sheriff’s office said. “Investigators believe this is a terrible accident and not done with malicious intent.”
Demeules’s mother, Renee Salazar, said she is grateful for the Good Samaritans who stopped to help her son in his final moments. Now she just wants to know who hit her son.
"He didn't deserve to die like that,” Salazar said. “If we knew who did it. it would give us some kind of solace.”
Salazar said her son would want her to forgive the driver so he or she can rest in peace.
"I don't want [the driver] to carry this around and doing the right thing will the first step towards peace," Salazar said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Isanti County sheriff’s office tip line at 763-691-2426.
A change to Minnesota law took effect on Aug. 1, 2014, requiring drivers involved in any collision to stop the car and investigate what they hit. One purpose of the law is to remove the "ignorance argument" from the defense in hit-and-run cases. The updated law reads as follows:
“The driver of any motor vehicle involved in a collision shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the collision, or as close to the scene as possible, and reasonably investigate what was struck. If the driver knows or has reason to know the collision resulted in injury to or death of another, the driver shall remain at the scene of the collision until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of this section as to the giving of information. The stop must be made without unnecessarily obstructing traffic.”