Suspect in hit-and-run that killed teen: "I didn't even see her"

Aaron Mesmer reports

- The man arrested for the hit-and-run that killed 17-year-old Ashley Perdomo spoke about the incident for the first time Friday after being released on bond.

After posting a $15,000 bond Friday morning, Nikolaos Konstantinou exited Pinellas County Jail wearing a bright orange state-issued t-shirt pulled over his face. But the attempt to obscure himself from the cameras did not keep him from commenting on what happened on that dark Wednesday morning. 

The crash 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 and the driver, now identified as Nikolaos Konstantinou, didn't stop

When asked if he was sorry, Konstantinou answered, "Beyond sorry. There's no words to describe what happened." 

The 56-year-old told reporters, "I didn't even see her... I didn't see her at all." 

He claimed to be driving under the 45 mph speed limit when Perdomo, a senior at Hillsborough High, "decided to run across the busy highway." 

At the point of collision, Konstantinou said, "I thought something hit me, that's the way it felt. But I didn't know what it was." 

He says he drove a couple more blocks before he pulled over to check what had caused the impact, but it was too dark outside to see. 

Reporters asked if he had anything to say to the family of Ashley Perdomo.

Visibly shaken up, Konstantinou stated, " There's no words to express how one feels at the point, especially for the young lady."

But it is Ashley's family that bears the pain now. 

"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."

LINK: Family GoFundMe page to help with expenses

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.'"

And that hospital is where Ashley died.

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 on Thursday. "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." 




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