By Kimberly Davis


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The search is on for a driver who hit a local high school student and then drove away, leaving him for dead. Friends and family of 17-year-old Jackiel Irwin-Diehl are desperate for answers as they remember the stand-out dance student.

Police are still on the lookout for that driver. Right now, detectives are investigating this hit-and-run as a suspicious death as his friends and family mourn this tragic loss.

Hearts were heavy Friday night as Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School remembered their beloved classmate, Jackiel, or as his classmates called him, JJ.

“JJ was just the most loving and caring person anybody could meet,” sophomore Deanna Foster said.

Credit: CBS3

JJ’s life came to an end at Einstein Medical Center on Jan. 31st after he was hit by a car on Lincoln Drive. His parents are devastated.

“Our house is so much quieter than it used to be because he filled the space with his energy and his enthusiasm for everything,” JJ’s father, Nathan Irwin-Diehl, said.

JJ’s mother says he left the house for a walk and was hit later that night.

“Of our three boys, he’s the one most likely to give me a hug and actually say I love you, and God, he just enjoyed every minute of life so much,” Rebecca Irwin-Diehl said.

JJ’s dance teacher says a piece of the school’s heart is now missing. As the investigation into Jackiel’s death continues, the teen won’t be forgotten.

“You can always teach a dancer a step but you can never teach a dancer how to dance with their heart, and he was one of them. Our little dance family will never be the same without him,” Amber Ross said.

If you have any information about the hit-and-run, contact Philadelphia police.

Kimberly Davis