A north Minneapolis woman killed by a hit-and-run driver on New Year’s Eve will be remembered for her outgoing personality and her devotion to her four children, family members said Friday.

Aisha Freels, 37, was identified by relatives as the pedestrian killed Thursday night. She was struck around 9:20 p.m. while crossing Lyndale Avenue N. to reach a waiting taxicab.

Minneapolis police are searching for the driver of a light-blue vehicle, which was headed south on Lyndale at the time. The car then turned west onto 39th Avenue N. Freels was hit outside her home after arranging a ride to celebrate with some friends, said her cousin Valerie Littles-Butler.

Eddie Ballard, who raised Freels, described her as an affectionate mother and friend. Her kids range in age from 16 to 5. The two oldest were home at the time, he said.

Ballard asked that the driver surrender to authorities. He said that if he could speak with the driver, he’d say:

“You took a beautiful spirit from this world. If this were your mother, sister — anyone you know and love — how would you feel?” he said. “Do the right thing.”

Freels was a talented hairstylist, who frequently braided, cut and sculpted relatives’ hair. Freels also worked on several former Vikings players, including Randy Moss, Ballard said.

“It was one of the many gifts she was blessed with,” Littles-Butler said. “She was very fashionable and personable.”

Freels graduated from North Community High School and later studied at the University of Phoenix, according to her Facebook page.

The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office will perform an autopsy. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-222-8477.

Elsewhere, Anoka County authorities found a 59-year-old Crystal man who had died after the vehicle he was driving veered off the road during a turn on St. Francis Boulevard in Nowthen. The vehicle rolled, sliced a power pole in half and ended up upside down in a ditch, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office said.

The man’s name was not released. The Sheriff’s Office and the Midwest medical examiner’s office are investigating.


Staff writer Josephine Marcotty contributed to this report.