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Aurora police search for driver involved in fatal hit-and-run

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Aurora police have released the name and photo of the man they believe was involved in a fatal hit-and-run on Monday.

Theresa Burns, 57, died trying to rescue an 18-year-old girl who had put her own life in danger after running out of a school and residence for people with psychiatric challenges.

On Tuesday night, a cross and candles formed a small memorial remembering Burns who worked at the Northern Illinois Academy.

Police said the accident happened Monday night around 5:30 p.m. after the teen ran out of the academy and sat down in the middle of a lane of traffic on Church Road, right next to the facility.

As Burns and another employee tried to help the girl , their efforts turned tragic.

A GEO Metro struck both Burns and her co-worker, a 25-year-old Plainfield man, who was treated and released from a hospital for his injuries, according to police. Burns was pronounced dead on the scene at 5:58 p.m. and an autopsy is pending.

The driver, believed to be the owner of the car, did stop, but he abandoned the vehicle at the scene and took off on foot.

The owner of the vehicle, Gustavo Villarreal, 44, of the 1600 block of Dearborn Avenue, in unincorporated Aurora, has not been heard from or seen since fleeing the crash and on Monday. Villarreal's family reported him missing with the Kane County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday.

"We don't have any indication that he was driving erratically, that he was driving at a high rate of speed, right now this appears to be a tragic accident," Aurora Police's Dan Ferrelli says.

Aurora police released a photo of Villarreal on Wednesday and is asking for the public's help.

"The biggest piece of this investigation lies with the driver in this instance," says Ferrelli. "We can't say it enough, he needs to come forward and talk to the investigators."

Burns lived alone in a Des Plaines condo building. No one there seemed to know her very well, but on her Facebook page, she indicated she been a social worker for years and was a big fan of Paul McCartney.

Two additional staff members, a 32-year-old woman and a 63-year-old woman, were also on the scene. The 32-year-old was standing in he roadway at the time of the crash.

The older woman witnessed the group trying to remove the student from the roadway when she was leaving work. She proceeded to drive out of the facility's lot and parked her car nearby in an attempt to assist. Neither of these females were injured.

Anyone with information on the crash or Villarreal's whereabouts should call investigators at (630) 256-5330.

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