Antonio Demeules dreamed of attending culinary school and opening a restaurant called “Three Bites to Heaven.” It was an aspiration his mother hoped to see him achieve in the not-too-distant future.
But the 15-year-old Isanti, Minn., boy, who had just started 10th grade at Blaine High School, was killed in a hit-and-run accident while skateboarding Thursday night. Family members believe he was headed toward his father’s house, where he’d been staying at the time.
His mother, Renee Salazar, described her son as a fun-loving boy who enjoyed playing basketball, drawing and fishing. Always the hard worker, Demeules held a job as a youth supervisor at the Emmanuel Christian Center in Spring Lake Park and frequently helped his autistic 8-year-old brother.
Demeules was found in the middle of 285th Avenue NE., just east of Hwy. 65, about 8:15 p.m. Thursday. A motorist saw the boy skateboarding on the centerline of the road in dark clothing, then drove back through the area a short time later and, along with another passerby, spotted him on the ground severely injured. The good Samaritans immediately called for help and stayed with him until an ambulance arrived.
Demeules was taken to Cambridge Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Surveillance video from a nearby business showed a white pickup truck traveling west on 285th Avenue. About 24 hours later, a man turned himself in, police said, and is fully cooperating.
Before anyone stepped forward, police said it was possible the driver was not aware that a child had been struck, and that they believed the fatality to be “a terrible accident and not done with malicious intent.”
Salazar said Friday night that she didn’t plan to press charges against the driver and simply wanted closure.
“I forgive them. No one sets out and plans to hit a child,” she said before being notified that someone had come forward. “I would thank them that they humbled themselves and did the right thing even when it probably wasn’t the easiest thing to do.”
Salazar said she is thankful for the strangers who stepped in and helped her son.
A memorial account has been set up for Demeules at any Wells Fargo Bank to help with funeral expenses. “I encourage parents, kiss your kids whenever you can,” Salazar said. “Tomorrow is never promised to any one of us.”
Staff writer Pam Louwagie contributed to this report.