LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A community came together tonight to mourn a young life lost.
Family members and a police report identify the teenager who died in a hit-and-run crash Monday night near Tropicana and Nellis as Akadian Frankopoulos.
Hundreds came out to a vigil Tuesday night where it happened and left candles and flowers on the side of the road to honor Akadian.
“Everything is so surreal,” said Daisy Gallo, Akadian’s mother. “All he ever wanted was to play basketball.”
Daisy said Akadian had big dreams and that his 15th birthday was coming up in mid-May. Akadian played hoops at SLAM Nevada, a local charter school. He was beloved by his team and classmates. His energy on the court was just as palpable off it.
“He always had a big smile on his face and he’s very generous and a really good-hearted kid,” Daisy said.
Daisy said Akadian was playing basketball at a park Monday night. On the way home, he was about to cross Tropicana at Morris Street when they shared their final words over the phone.
“[He said,] ‘I’m almost there. I’ll be there in a few.’ I said, “Okay, I love, you,” Daisy said. “I didn’t know that three minutes later, that’s when he got struck by a car.”
Metro Police say the teen was in the marked crosswalk when 34-year-old Crystal Helm hit him and drove away. According to an arrest report obtained by 8 News Now, Helm told police she was unable to stop because of car problems. Helm also said she left the scene because she was “scared.” She later turned herself in and now faces several charges.
At Tuesday night’s vigil, loved ones used the same crosswalk as a show of solidarity. They say improvements are necessary.
“I would really want this street to get fixed with better lighting, because as you can see, everyone still drives like crazy,” Daisy said.
Daisy’s plea for progress is all to save other families from unimaginable grief.
“I really don’t want that to happen to anyone else,” Daisy said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses. Click here to donate.