Teen's Final Act: Pushing Sister Out of Harm's Way

'He's my hero,' mom says of 13-year-old Tyler Phillips of Long Island, NY
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2022 10:40 AM CDT
Mom on Teen Who Died Saving His Sister: 'He's My Hero
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/carlballou)

The family of a Long Island teen who was killed during a hit-and-run earlier this month is lauding his final act: saving his sister. NBC New York reports that on Oct. 12, the day after he turned 13, Tyler Phillips of Medford, NY, and his sister Krystal Randolph, also 13, were walking along a bike path in Coram on their way home around 7:30pm; an SUV drove up from behind and slammed into them. Tyler "went to jump and grab her, and [the car] just took him," family friend Steffani Campbell tells NBC, adding that Krystal said "she watched him fly to the middle of the street," then called for help.

The driver sped away from the scene, and the teens were transported to Stony Brook University Hospital, where Krystal was treated for a sprained arm, per WABC. Tyler, however, who arrived in critical condition, died just hours later. His mother says his skull and vertebrae were separated from the impact. "He's my hero," Desira Mack tells CBS2. "He saved my life," adds Krystal, who tells NBC that the vehicle didn't have its lights on, even though it was already dark out. "Outgoing, Adventurous, Fiesty yet kind, he loved with his whole heart for the ones he cared for," reads a GoFundMe campaign set up by Tyler's aunt to help his family pay for a funeral and burial.

Tyler's obituary notes he loved basketball and football, playing with his pets, and listening to freestyle music. Anyone with information on the vehicle—described by authorities as possibly being a dark-colored Chevy Equinox made between 2005 and 2009, and likely with damage to its front passenger headlight, mirror, and bumper—is asked to call Suffolk County police at 631-852-6555, or Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. There's now a $5,000 reward being offered in the case. (More Long Island stories.)

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