John Luke spent Tuesday evening with his high school history tutor at his Miller Place home, then told his family he was going for a stroll. He was walking home after hanging out with friends when he was fatally struck crossing the street, his family and police said.
"Everyone's distraught. They're besides themselves, they don't know whether they're coming or going," said Luke's aunt Mary Luke, who lived with the teen in Miller Place.
Suffolk police said Wednesday that Luke, 16, was probably crossing from the north side of Route 25A to the south side at Miller Place Road at 11:30 p.m., when Francesco Giulietti, traveling west, hit him with his 2015 Chevrolet sport utility vehicle.
Luke was taken to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson where he was pronounced dead. He was a junior at Miller Place High School, the district said.
Suffolk Det. Sgt. Michael Fitzharris said "it seems probable" Luke was crossing against traffic.
The driver, Giulietti, 35, of Farmingville was taken to St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson where he was treated for trauma and released. A police spokeswoman said Wednesday no charges are pending.
Miller Place Schools Superintendent Marianne Higuera said in a statement that district officials "extend our deepest condolences to the student's family and friends during this heartbreaking time."
School officials made mental health teams, including grief counselors, available Wednesday at the school, she said.
Luke's family and friends remembered him as a quiet child coping with teenage growing pains -- finding love and growing facial hair.
At his home, not far from the high school, his friend Rachel Ruquet, 19, left a half-dozen roses near a side door.
"I just want his family to know that there are people thinking about the situation; he's not going to be forgotten or neglected at all," said Ruquet, a 2014 Miller Place High graduate.
Ruquet said she befriended Luke in her senior year when she saw him sitting alone in the lunchroom. Luke was quiet, "but when he smiles, that's when it all comes out," Ruquet said.
Although the district said he was a junior at the high school, his aunt said he was being tutored at home this year because he had been suspended. He had defended himself and a female friend against someone trying to bully them last year, said Mary Luke, 37.
"He was just a good kid that would do anything for anybody," his aunt said. "He would go the extra mile to defend them."
With Gary Dymski