The family and friends of an 18-year-old man killed in an alleged impaired hit-and-run last week say he was about to head to university and “had his future ahead of him.”
Jacob Quinonez came to Canada as a refugee from Colombia at the age of six with his mother. He had just graduated high school and was planning on going to York University to study psychology.
Around 11 p.m. on Aug. 5, Quinonez was riding his motorcycle near Dufferin Street and Ranee Avenue when he became involved in a collision with a black Dodge Caravan at the intersection. The driver of the Dodge Caravan fled the scene, but later was found by police.
Quinonez was pronounced dead at the scene.
“She just took off, and I think that’s what hurts the most—to know that she did not care,” Quinonez’s cousin, Karol Micolta De La Cruz, told CTV News Toronto.
Quinonez was a mentor with Freedom School Toronto, a youth and parent initiative that works to combat anti-Black racism in schools and promote self-love and a sense of community. A GoFundMe campaign, launched by Freedom School Toronto to raise money for the family, describes Quinonez as someone with a “magnetic” personality.
“His ideas, his voice, the way he talked, the way he walked with integrity. Jacob was wise beyond his years and he fought through more in his 18 years than many could imagine,” The GoFundMe page says. “He was loving and bright, always playing off his brilliance with style.”
Nauoda Robinson, co-founding director of transformative justice at Freedom School, told CTV News Toronto Thursday night that she wonders if the driver had stayed at the scene, if it would have made a difference.
“He did not deserve to be left alone. What if they could have saved him? How do we know?”
More than $23,000 has been raised through the GoFundMe page thus far.
A 28-year-old woman identified by police as Kirsten Stevens has been taken into custody in connection with the collision. She has been charged with impaired operation of a vehicle causing death, exceeding blood alcohol levels causing death, and leaving the scene of an accident causing death.
The charges have not been proven in court.