PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - A community is mourning the death of a loved one, while police search for a suspect. Eric Strzelczyk died early Sunday morning after his motorcycle collided with a white pick up truck in Palm Springs. The driver of the truck ran away from the scene. The crash happened around 4:30 AM on Sunday morning at the corner of East Palm Canyon and South Camino Real.
The crash and Eric's death left his friends searching for answers. "It's really hard. I'm still in shock with everything," said Jennifer Riley, a friend of Strzelczyk's. Damian Lopez and Mark Smith met at La Pinata, the restaurant where the friends often ate with Eric. They spent the day after his death sharing stories about their dear friend. "He loved his family, his friends and stuff," said Lopez. "He was really adventurous, really cool."
They say he loved his motorcycle, almost as much as he loved playing the guitar. "He was an amazing musician," said Smith. "He was amazing at everything he did."
His friends also remember him for his service to our country. The Indio high school alumni joined the Air Force right after graduation. He worked as a mechanic and continued fixing planes ever after he returned to civilian life. Strzelczyk's passion for flight let him to a pilot's license. "Ambitious, all about flying, all about being a pilot," said Riley.
When he wasn't in the skies, his friends say his down-to-earth personality drew everyone closer to him. "You could tell he just had an optimism that was contagious," said Smith. "No matter what the situation was."
Now, his friends and family must try to deal with this situation. Despite their loss, they want peace for the driver who fled, because Eric would too. "I just wish this guy could come clean and just have it off of his chest," said Riley. "You know my prayers are with him to just open up his heart."
Police are still searching for William Dominguez Lopez, who they say is a person of interest.