CHICAGO (CBS) — As a student and a wrestler at the University of Illinois, his family said he had so much promise.
But that ended with a hit-and-run driver.READ MORE: Jensen Elementary Mother Dies From COVID-19 After Daughter Exposed At School
As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports, they are filled with grief as well as questions.
There’s much grief inside this Manhattan, Illinois home.
About how 21-year-old Francis Edelen died on the side of I-57.
And why the driver who hit him drove away.
Illinois State Police believe Edelen got into an accident near Rantoul and went out to check on the other driver.
Then, for some reason, police say he began walking down the interstate.
“Mr. Edelen may have been initially struck by a large vehicle,” says Captain Louis Kink of the Illinois State Police.
Likely a semi.
Then, they believe a second car hit him.READ MORE: Woman Struck And Killed When Car Jumps Curb, Hits Building In Gresham
A witness told police he saw a green car, white SUV and another vehicle pulled over near the student’s body.
But all drove off when the witness approached.
“I was like a mother to him,” says Edelen’s aunt Debbie Kratovil.
She says he and his nine siblings had a rough upbringing, spending time in foster care.
Wrestling, she says, helped him.
She says he was always positive.Â The one everyone turned to.
Especially his younger brother Jacob Kratovil.
“He got me out of a lot of bad situations where I put myself at risk. He was the one who talked me out of it,” says Kratovil.
“I’d do anything to give him his life back. I’d give my own life for him.”
The accident happened around 10 p.m. Wednesday night.MORE NEWS: Cook County Gives $200,000 Grant To Social Service Agency Lawrence Hall
Anyone with information is urged to call the Illinois State Police at 217-278-5004.