LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Before the crime tape rose around a double fatal traffic crash, commencement confetti fell for the car’s occupant.

Julian Torres is photographed arm-in-arm with his parents during his May graduation from Las Vegas High School. A different photo shows him making a touchdown as a star player on the football team. Another shows a sweet moment between him, his seven-year-old sister, and a rabbit.

Handfuls of photos have poured into 8 News Now from family and friends that depict the 18-year-old as they remember him: a passionate sports enthusiast, loving brother, and dedicated student. His brother, Luis, spoke exclusively to 8 News Now on Monday.

Julian Torres playing football during “Senior Night” Bishop Manogue v. Las Vegas; Varsity Football at Bishop Manogue High School. (Paulina Flores)

“Julian was the light of our lives from the moment he was born,” Luis said during a virtual interview Monday afternoon, smiling while remembering his brother. “He was always the happiest kid in the family.”

Luis said his brother was en route to begin earning his business degree from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) this fall, less than a year after he was made nominee of the 2023 NFL Latino Youth Honors. There, he would be classmates once again with a long-time friend from the Las Vegas Valley.

Julian Torres was photographed with his parents while graduating from Las Vegas High School in May. (Paulina Flores)

The success 19-year-old Ethan Velasquez already made at UNR is what partly persuaded Torres to pursue his education there, Luis said. He added the two were part of a larger group of teenagers departing to their respective college campuses in the coming weeks that were sparking fireworks together on July 4.

That departure will now not come for the duo as the Clark County Coroner identified both on Monday as victims of the east valley double fatal traffic collision from Friday.

18-year-old Julian Torres petting a rabbit with his seven-year-old sister. (Paulina Flores)

Las Vegas Metro Police said the crash was first reported around 2:45 a.m. Friday morning at Hollywood and Charleston boulevards. According to the police investigation, a white truck ran through a red light at a high rate of speed before crashing with a blue car that had a green light. Torress and Velasquez were in the blue car.

According to police, the truck struck them on the passage side, which directed their car through a backyard wall. Arriving medical personnel pronounced them deceased on the scene, police said.

The truck’s driver then escaped on foot and left their vehicle behind, according to police. Investigators have only publicly revealed the suspect’s age: 20 years old. Las Vegas Metropolitan police confirmed no arrests had been made as of Monday afternoon.

18-year-old Julian Torres had recently graduated from Las Vegas High School in May. (Paulina Flores)

“I’m just leaving it in the hands of the authorities,” Luis said when asked about his emotions toward the suspect’s disappearance.

Luis added that Velasquez was driving to his house less than half a mile from the intersection so Torress could pick up his car and drive home Friday morning.

The Velasquez family declined to be interviewed Monday, but sent this statement instead:

Ethan was loved and cared for by so many. This loss has deeply affected not only his family but the community as a whole. Ethan always had the brightest spirit, so much compassion for others, and the goofiest jokes. We love him so much and now that love becomes a part of us. He never forgot to live his life to the fullest and go on countless spontaneous adventures. He was silly and always goofing off while making others around him laugh. Ethan was approachable, friendly, and welcoming to anyone and his kind heart was obvious. His laughter, silliness and positive energy is what drew so many people to him. He had countless friends in LVHS and UNR. Ethan was so excited to have his dear Julian joining him at UNR this upcoming school year.

Both families have created separate fundraising efforts for the individual funeral expenses. The Torress GoFundMe and Velasquez GoFundMe both yearn to raise $25,000.

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