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Teen Mourned After Deadly Des Plaines Crash

Choice Taylor (courtesy: Taylor family)

Choice Taylor (courtesy: Taylor family)

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Updated: 11/08/10 11:12 a.m.

DES PLAINES, Ill. (CBS) - Teachers and classmates are remembering a teen who was killed by a hit-and-run vehicle in Des Plaines, as police continue to search for the offender.

As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, police over the weekend released a description of the vehicle that killed Choice Taylor, 17, on Friday evening.

Taylor was struck by a vehicle on Algonquin Road near Third Avenue in Des Plaines Friday evening. He was returning from his job at a local grocery store, where he had just picked up his check.

He was somehow caught in the wheels of a semi-tractor, which was not towing a truck trailer at the time. Taylor was found lying in the street.

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Information released by Des Plaines police Sunday indicates that the tractor is a dull red or maroon color. No debris from the truck was found at the accident scene.

Witnesses indicated the truck pulled to the side of the road about 50 feet from the point of impact, and the driver exited to inspect it for damage. The driver then got back into the truck and drove away, police said.

“It is possible the driver of the tractor did not observe any damage and never realized a pedestrian had been struck,” police said in a statement Sunday.

Taylor was a senior at Maine West High School in Des Plaines. Counseling services will be available to students and staff beginning Monday and for the rest of the week, until all the students have come to grips with the unfortunate reality that one of their classmates will not be coming back to school.

Over the weekend, friends and loved ones built a large memorial in his honor.

Audrey Haugan is principal at Maine West.

“Everybody knows Choice for his smile and his polite manner. It seemed like his mission at Maine West was to walk around and make everybody else happy. So when we think about him, we do smile,” said Haugan.

On Monday though, many who were thinking of Choice weren’t laughing but were instead crying.

Mary Lou Rollins is a crossing guard who used to see Choice regularly. She remembers him as kind and respectful.

“It’s about tears this morning,” said Rollins.

Choice had just wrapped up a phone call with his twin brother, Chance, who was just blocks away at the family home, when he was hit by the vehicle.

Chance heard the commotion and rushed to the scene with his friends. That’s when he spotted his brother’s jacket lying in the street. He asked officers if the victim looked like him. Officers didn’t respond, and held Chance back so he couldn’t get any closer.

Now as the school mourns Choice, they are especially worried about Chance.

“We need to look out for Chance, who is his twin and his best friend. We need to offer our support to the family as they go through this difficult time,” Haugan said.

Julie Lee’s oldest son was a friend of Choice. She felt compelled to place flowers at the memorial this morning. She felt heartsick for the Taylor family and concerned about her son.

“He’s a good kid and I just feel terrible for the family. The community is just going out to him. My son knew him from school. It’s heartbreaking,” said Lee.

Police plan to be in the area of the accident scene Monday evening at 6 p.m., handing out flyers. They hope someone who may have seen something Friday may be in the area with possible information that could lead them to the driver.

Taylor’s family is offering $5,000 for information leading to the driver. They say they don’t want revenge — just some closure.

Police are asking anyone with information to call detectives at 1-847-391-5400 or text an anonymous tip by beginning the message with “ICARE,” and sending the message to “CRIMES” or “274637.″

Visitation for Choice Taylor will be Friday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Good News Christian Center in Des Plaines. The teenager’s funeral will be Saturday morning at the same location.

CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli and the Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.