If you want indication of how much Freddy Perez was loved, you just need to see the memorial that continues to grown every night at the site where he died on Rinaldi Street in Mission Hills.
Family members say Perez, who was killed after he was hit by a truck while riding his motorcycle earlier this month, was set to make a major life decision — proposing to his long-time girlfriend.
His sister, Lizette Perez, said her brother, known to most as Tio Freddy, loved his family, his sports and his girlfriend Andrea.
“He was set to go out to Mexico to visit her and his family and he was going to propose to his girlfriend,” Lizette Perez told KTLA.
But just five days before the planned engagement, their lives would change forever.
“He was about to start his own family,” Perez said. “It’s been rough knowing he never got the chance.”
On July 16 in Mission Hills, Perez was out on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. He was making a left turn on Rinaldi Street into a gas station when a black pickup truck, described as 2017 GMC Denali or Sierra HD, struck him.
Instead of stopping to render aid, the driver continued onto the 405 Freeway southbound leaving Freddy behind, as well as pieces of his truck. The truck’s GMC emblem was still at the scene when first responders arrived.
A nurse who saw what happened stopped to help, keeping chest compressions going until paramedics arrived, but Freddy died at the scene.
Police are still looking for the hit-and-run driver and Lizette says each passing day gets more difficult as they await for the guilty party to be brought to justice.
Those closest to Freddy have gathered under the nearby overpass to pray for him. Each day, more and more candles are placed and more pictures are taped on the wall, and Lizette said each passing day makes her voice grow stronger.
“Each day I get angrier. The pain that I feel, the anger that is coming up, I’m going to use it. I’m going to be my brother’s voice,” Lizette said. “This story isn’t going away.”
Family members say Andrea, Freddy’s girlfriend, was unaware of his plans to propose. She learned of his intentions at the same time she learned that Freddy had died.
The family is now raising funds with a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for funeral expenses.
Anyone with information about the crash or the suspect’s vehicle is urged to contact the Los Angeles Police Department.