The victim was identified by authorities as Tiwen Nichols. His family says he was leaving a movie theater with friends around 11pm when he decided to take a shortcut.
According to police, Tiwen tried to cross the East Freeway between Holland and Federal instead of taking the nearby pedestrian overpass. He was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle.
Tiwen's friends were not injured.
Witnesses said another car stopped and the occupants attempted to save Tiwen, even trying to put his body in their car to take him to the hospital, but the teen died the moment he was hit.
It was a split-second decision that left his family in so much grief.
"Sometimes we make bad decisions. That's why when your parents start talking to you it's good to listen," said Tiwen's uncle, Anthony Nichols.
Nichols says he had a special nickname for his nephew Tiwen. It was "Noonie."
"I love all my nieces and nephews, but he was just that little special one," Nichols said.
Now their special times together, watching him play ball or do back flips in the yard, are just memories.
"Unfortunately my nephew didn't get a chance to grow into a man," he said.
The family hopes Tiwen's story can prevent another family from facing the same pain.
"Sometimes, when you do just that one thing, it could be the end. And I know nobody wants to go through this," Nichols said. "Losing your child is a hard thing. I'm praying for my sister as we speak in my head."
Within hours of Tiwen's death, a Facebook page was set up in the teen's memory. By Sunday night, it was nearing 500 fans.
"You were funny," one person wrote. "Always smiling. You were good people. You were so young. You were loved by many and still are, but you're in a better place now."
According to police, the driver who hit Tiwen did stop. They do not expect to file charges in the case.