WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. CBS4) – A Wheat Ridge teenager is being remembered with tears and tributes Saturday night.
Jordan Sprouse, 18, was driving to his friend’s house when he was struck and killed. It happened at 32nd and Kipling in Wheat Ridge just after 9 p.m. on Friday.
The driver who hit Sprouse ran off after the crash. He was later arrested in Lakewood.
Sprouse’s friends and family will be gathering for a candlelight vigil at the crash site Saturday night.
The teen was going to graduate high school in just three weeks.
“He’s a great kid with a great heart,” Sprouse’s mother Jessie Ackerman said.
Snapshots show Sprouse in Paris, but it’s the images of that trip that can’t be seen that are worth a thousand words to his mother.
“He was naming all these pieces he wanted to see, things I haven’t even heard of,” Ackerman said. “I’m thinking, ‘Where is that coming from?’ I don’t even know what this is.”
Ackerman says her son had a passion for art. The Longview High School senior was also an aspiring rapper.
“All of his friends were inspired by the white kid who could really rap. That’s what everybody loved most about him. He was determined. That’s what he was going to be. Music was his life,” Ackerman said. “His best friend had seen the accident and swore it was his car. So I went up there to go see, and it was his car (crying). I could tell by the sight of it he wasn’t okay.”
Police say Alton Kirkland, 23, was speeding south on Kipling with a woman and two children in his car. That’s when he crashed into Sprouse..and a second car before running away.
“It’s just knowing you can do that to somebody and leave, I don’t understand. I know it keeps happening. It’s just hard to comprehend. He had so much going on and determined to go in the right direction, and someone took it away from him,” Ackerman said.
Officers quickly tracked down and arrested Kirkland at his apartment in Lakewood.
“We did have many witnesses at the scene who were able to help identify the suspect as he ran off,” John Romero with Wheat Ridge police said.
Kirkland now faces vehicular homicide and menacing charges. The arrest doesn’t give Ackerman much closure but she’ll always cherish those memories.
“You took one of the greatest people we had. Took so much from me,” Ackerman said.
Police believe alcohol also played a factor in the crash.
If Kirkland is convicted he faces life behind bars.