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Hit-and-run driver kills 17-year-old on bike

April 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A hit-and-run driver is on the loose after killing a 17-year-old boy in Canoga Park.

"They should have stayed and called for help," said German Romero, the victim's father. He can't understand why the driver who took Alex Romero's life didn't stop to help.

"It's very difficult. Everybody loves him. He was such a good boy," said German Romero.

The Chatsworth High School senior was riding his bicycle along De Soto Avenue near Valerio Street at about 9 p.m. Wednesday with his best friend, Peter Arias. Someone driving a silver or gray Toyota Corolla or Camry hatchback sped up behind Alex Romero and hit him.

"I saw the car coming fast, and then I saw it before and then all I saw was after when he was gone, I saw my friend right there laying down. And I heard the impact," said Arias.

"What I heard was that there was a van and the car tried to pass the van on the right side, and that's when the car got my son," said German.

A sidewalk memorial of flowers and candles now sits near the site of the accident as friends and acquaintances, shocked by the death, gather to remember him.

"This is just a sad thing, a sad thing," said Ivan Alzate, Alex Romero's childhood soccer coach.

Alzate says Romero played club soccer and was well-known and liked in the community. He had a bright future, with dreams to someday become a chef.

"He was a happy kid and always smiling. You can even see him in that picture right there that his smile is this big, and we always used to just joke around, even when things were serious or sad, he'd have that smile on his face, because that was just part of him," said Alzate.

Amid the sadness, there are calls for the person responsible to come forward and for city leaders to do something about De Soto Avenue, a street residents say is a death trap.

"It's awful, from Sherman Way to Saticoy Street, De Soto is a racetrack," said Canoga Park resident Laurie Sagon.

"They just left him and I think that was pretty mean. I think they should turn themselves in," said Alani, the victim's sister.

Anyone with information was urged to call the Los Angeles Police Department at (877) LAPD-24-7.