ADELSO "Adeiry" Matos-Garcia loved to ride his bike, and he died riding it.
The aunt he lived with, Yolanda Matos, was proud to call him mi nino, or "my child."
"He would say, 'Aunt, I wish you were my mom, because I love you like a mom,' " Matos told the Daily News by phone last night. "And I said, 'Then love me like your mom, because I consider you my son.' "
Matos-Garcia, 17, of Mentor Street near C, was riding his bike Sunday on Cayuga Street near 6th, in Hunting Park, when he was struck and killed by a 1995 Honda Civic.
Investigators suspect the driver, a 28-year-old man, was driving under the influence. He had not been charged with a crime as of last night, but police were still awaiting results of a toxicology test.
Randy LoBasso, communications manager for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, said the residential area where the accident happened could benefit from red-light cameras. He also suggested reducing speed limits.
Wigberto Marrero, 16, a friend and classmate, said Matos-Garcia especially enjoyed doing "wheelies" on his bike.
Matos-Garcia was involved with student government at Olney Charter High School.
He was interested in the arts and hoped to be a baseball player. He played shortstop on a team in the Dominican Republic, from where his family hails, his aunt said. He hoped to be a pitcher.
"He was such a good player," she said. "He hit the ball so hard."
Matos-Garcia lived with his aunt, an uncle, two brothers and a cousin. His parents are in their home country.
"Losing my friend really broke my heart, because he was supposed to graduate with me and his life was cut short," Marrero said.
"He was such a warm-hearted person. Five minutes with Adelso is like 10 years, because he'll treat you like a family member."
"He will be remembered as very charismatic and with a great spirit," read a statement from ASPIRA Inc., which runs Olney Charter.
Relatives prayed together on Monday and will hold a family gathering today, his aunt said.
A funeral will be held tomorrow in Juniata Park. Matos-Garcia will be buried near the town of Cotui in the Dominican Republic, his aunt said.
"Every nice thing, every positive word you can say about someone, that was him," she said.