JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police have issued an arrest warrant for the alleged driver in a hit-and-run crash in Jersey City that left two teenagers dead.
Elionel Jimenez Sanchez, 15 was killed Wednesday.
His friend, 16-year-old Alexander Rosas-Flores, was taken to the hospital and was in a coma. He succumbed to his injuries Thursday, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said in a statement.
As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, an entire community was devastated Thursday night by the loss of the two boys.
“It’s just hard for me. He had a lot ahead of him,” family friend Jazlyn Martinez told CBS2’s Reena Roy. “He was funny, he always had a smile on his face. He was nice. He was a good friend.”
Elionel’s aunt says there are no words to describe the family’s grief. Sanchez’s family remembered him as a loving, respectful young man.
“I’m feeling sad because he left,” said Yayi Jimenez Sanchez, Elionel’s younger brother. “He was a nice person. He used to protect me.”
His mother said he was always sweet and respectful.
Heartbreak spread throughout the neighborhood. Jersey City resident Dorothy Donnelly lay flowers at the scene as she urged Bell to turn himself in.
“It just broke my heart, and no parent should have to bury a child – and so young,” Donnelly said. “And how do you hit and run someone and leave them? I don’t understand that.”
Police said the teen was riding a single bike with his friend in tow when they were hit on Terrace Avenue near Secaucus Road around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“Something like this happens, it’s just very, very sad living so close to them,” he said. “He didn’t deserve something like this,” said Rosas’ neighbor.
Police are looking for Rashaun Bell, 20, of Jersey City, and have charged him with two counts of knowingly leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death,Suarez said.
“We’re not entirely sure what direction that the vehicle was going or the bike was going,” said Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez. “But we do know that the vehicle stopped and the driver and maybe one other person in the vehicle fled on foot.”
Suarez added: “What kind of a human being are you? It’s outrageous.”
Jersey City police detained two other passengers inside the vehicle, but were unable to catch the person behind the wheel.
In a statement, the Jersey City Public School District said both teens were students at Dickinson High School.
There were no classes for students Thursday because it was a professional development day, but the district said grief counselors will be at school Friday.
“We will do all we can to help our community recover from this devastating loss and to support the students and staff at Dickinson as they cope with these events,” Superintendent Dr. Marcia V. Lyles said.