LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – One year after a motorcyclist was killed in a hit-and-run crash, his family is still hoping for a break in the case.
Ginger Patterson has envisioned her son rolling up to her home on his motorcycle all year.
The back of his red Yamaha is where she said he felt most free after years of installing solar panels. He took his last ride on October 19, 2022.
“I wish I could switch places with my son and let him be here,” Patterson said through tears in her front yard Thursday morning, leaning against her sister Leilani Kaluau for support. “Whoever hit my son, they ruined our lives.”
Tony Tomas – known as “Tommy Boy” and “Hawaii” by family and the local motorcycle community – was 27 years old when Nevada State Police (NSP) said he was hit by a van westbound at the North Durango Drive exit of the 215 freeway in Centennial Hills.
The driver never stopped, no security footage captured the nighttime collision, and police never confirmed witness reports that the van made an unsafe lane change towards Tomas that preceded the crash.
A white van, matching the description witnesses gave to police and last seen in the area of the freeway exit the night of the crash, was seemingly NSP’s only viable lead.
In November 2022, a representative told 8 News Now that “over 100 vans matching the description of the fleeing vehicle” were leads, but none that could positively be identified as the involved vehicle.
“I call B.S.,” Patterson said. “Every other case, they’ve got tons (of security footage). You can’t tell me Vegas has no cameras on those streets.”
On the anniversary of Tomas’ passing, his family said little communication from investigators is making healing harder.
“I probably talked to the investigator twice, and that’s me calling,” Patterson said when asked how frequently investigators have updated her on her son’s case in one year. “They should at least keep us updated, you know? Once a month, ‘I’m sorry, we don’t have—’ not even that. Not even the consideration of that.”
“He’s a minority. Who cares? Or, he’s a rider. Who cares? They’re speed demons.”
Fatal motorcycle crashes similar to Tomas’ have been on the rise in metropolitan Clark County, according to Tawnya Rosenthal, president of Rider SOS Accident Fund.
“We’re seeing a big issue with speed, both on the car drivers and the motorcyclists,” Rosenthal said during a virtual interview Thursday afternoon. “Their injuries are 15 to 20 times greater than say, a car accident because a motorcyclist doesn’t have a surrounding, or what we call a cage, around them if they’re involved in an accident.”
The nonprofit helps to cover living expenses for motorcycle victims as they recover from their injuries, which Rosenthal says is commonly from a couple of months to over a year. In the case of Tomas, the nonprofit offered emotional support and helped organize vigils for “Hawaii.”
Despite an outpour of support from the local biking community – as both a shoulder to cry on and investigators looking for the fleeing car – holding onto hope for answers is driving off.
“All his little nieces and nephews, they still run around the house talking about him, that they dreamed of him,” Kaluau, Tomas’ aunt, said while supporting her sister. “I just pray about it every day, that the person would come forward and turn himself in or herself in.”
“Be accountable for your actions. Just don’t leave somebody to die on the road,” Patterson said through heavy sighs and tearful eyes. “I don’t think we’ll ever get answers, and that’s going to be a lifelong pain and suffering from us.”
NSP confirmed the investigation is ongoing while investigators are still looking for witnesses and evidence, though said there is no further update as of Thursday.
A brigade of motorcyclists plan to ride valley roads up to the location of the crash for an anniversary vigil on Thursday night.