ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) -- A local family is mourning the loss of a teenage girl killed in a weekend hit-and-run crash in the North County.
Kirsten Tomlinson died in the early morning hours of June 6 after authorities said she was struck by a vehicle in an unincorporated part of Escondido.
The 17-year-old was several feet from her home on Mesa Rock Road when the incident occurred. The teen was with her siblings and some friends, and as the group prepared to head inside for the night, Tomlinson was hit by a car as she crossed the street.
The driver never stopped, according to witnesses and the California Highway Patrol.
The teen’s father, William Tomlinson, said he attempted CPR, but it was too late.
“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. I’m never going to have her back now because somebody was irresponsible,” he said.
CHP officials released a description of the possible suspect car, and after seeing it on news reports, someone called with a tip that led to the arrest of 29-year-old Paul Anthony Lissona.
Tomlinson’s parents are thankful for whoever called in the tip.
“I need to thank her and if for some reason, understandably so, she doesn't want to be, we need her to know how grateful we are,” Tomlinson’s mother, Erica Connery, said.
Tomlinson was finishing school at Escondido High School and hoped to one day be a marine biologist or veterinarian.
Her family also said she wanted to be a model, and her parents said she was always taking pictures.
“She was a ball of life. She really enjoyed making people laugh and smile,” said Connery. “She always wanted just the perfect spot, the perfect picture. If it wasn't perfect, it was it was re-done 100 times and it doesn't matter if it took five minutes or if it took five hours.”
Now, her family is looking for comfort in all of the pictures she left behind.
“She took so many pictures and I am so grateful that she did because we have thousands of pictures,” said Connery.
Lissona faces felony hit-and-run charges, and a CHP spokesperson said other charges are being considered.