TAMPA (FOX 13) - An insurance agent apparently made the tip that led Florida Highway Patrol to a suspect in a hit-and-run crash that killed a Hillsborough County teen.
Investigators said an insurance agent showed them damage reported by a client to a 2002 Hyundai. That led troopers to 56-year-old Nikolaos Konstantinou, of Clearwater. He has been arrested at his home for leaving the scene of a crash involving a death.
The crash Wednesday morning killed 17-year-old Ashley Perdomo, whose family said the teenager was leaving work at El Unico Supermarket on Hillsborough Avenue, near Blue Springs Drive. A vehicle hit her as she crossed Hillsborough at about 8 p.m. and the driver didn't stop.
"I am happy that they got him," Ashley's brother, Bryant Perdomo said Thursday evening. "But it is still not going to bring my sister back."
Family and friends held a vigil for their fallen angel Thursday. Ashley's mother, Mercedes Concepcion prayed with the crowd and said she wanted to die too.
"That was my world, that was my other half," she said. "Now my world is empty."
Bryant said he and his mother, Mercedes Concepcion, were unaware of what happened and began to panic when they couldn't get a hold of Ashley. Her brother and mom started trying to trace her phone.
"We tracked her phone to the scene of the accident and we just found the case," Bryant said. "Then we tracked the phone and it said, 'St. Joseph's Hospital.'"
Ashley died at the hospital.
The teenager was an aspiring model who loved helping her family.
"She's beautiful. My daughter loved me. My daughter say, 'Mommy, you're my prince,'" Concepcion said through tears.
"She wanted to become a famous model and buy a big house for her mother, that was her goal," added her brother. "She was very outgoing, never shy, she would never have a problem in school or anything. She was always here for her family."
Grief counselors were on hand at Hillsborough High School, where Ashley was an excellent student who always wanted to help her classmates.
"It's hard for the students to understand. It's hard for us to understand. It's as bad as it gets," Principal Gary Brady said.
"I think I'm in a position where I'm still in a little bit of shock. I kind of don't want to believe it," said Maria Gonzalez, Ashley's Spanish teacher.
Troopers told FOX 13 Ashley was not in a crosswalk at the time of the accident.
"Unfortunately people take a bad situation like a crash and turn it into something much worse," said FHP Sgt. Steve Gaskins. "I don't know what the other driver had going on at the time, but he or she just took a bad situation and made it so much worse, a felony for themselves."
FHP said Konstantinou's vehicle was seized as evidence and he would be delivered to the Pinellas County Jail.