Police still searching for hit-and-run driver who killed teenager, two years after his death

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Two years after a teenager was killed in a hit-and-run, police are still desperately searching for his killer.

Tyler Johnson, 15, died when an SUV hit him on S. Perkins Road in 2013.

CrimeStoppers labeled this investigation its "Crime of the Week," something Johnson's friends are praying finally leads to answers.

Johnson should have started summer classes at Kipp Academy just days after he was struck and killed.

His passion was football, and he had a great admiration for the man who taught him the game, his coach, John Coates.

"He was a good kid," Coates said through tears Wednesday.

Coates still gets emotional thinking about his former player.

"To take anyone out of the prime of their life ... but a young teenager? That's criminal," he said.

Johnson's friends knew him as a jokester, someone who never wanted to see anyone sad.

"He always wanted to make a joke, make people laugh," his friend and former teammate Jerik Vester told WREG.

But there would be a lot of sadness in his friends' future.

On July 14, 2013, Johnson was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Police said a gold Ford Excursion with white lettering on the rear window hit him and kept going.

"He was coming home from playing basketball ... hit by an SUV that drug him ... I don't know how many yards," Coates said.

"We didn't want to believe it was true at first," Vester added. "It was a hard time for the team."

Now, two years after Johnson's death, CrimeStoppers and the Memphis Police are pushing yet again for answers. They hope the anniversary encourages someone to come forward.

Friends said they hope if thinking about Johnson's loved ones does not push his killer to confess, guilt will.

"I can't believe that person sleeps at night," Coates said.

If you have any information about this crime, call CrimeStoppers at 528-CASH. You can also give a tip anonymously if you wish.

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