LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The family of the sole survivor of a fiery crash that killed five young people early Saturday morning said their daughter is recovering but is devastated by the loss of her friends.
Savannah Underwood’s parents said their daughter was grateful to be alive after learning she was the only passenger to survive the accident on San Fernando Rd. near the 5 Freeway.
The victims ranged in age from 18 to 22-years-old, and included Underwood’s close friend Sugey Cuevas and ex-boyfriend Samir Nevarez.
Friends Steven Stoll, Malak Hariri and Sebastian Forero also died in the crash.
A moment of silence was observed at the Burbank City Hall meeting Tuesday in memory of the five victims.
“She is the most beautiful girl I ever have,” said Ali Hariri, who brought a picture of his daughter Malak to show the Burbank Police Chief. “I will never forget her. She’ll always be my daughter, my queen.”
Hariri said he wanted the city to find ways to make that road safer for drivers.
“Everybody that drives that road knows it’s a dangerous entrance,” he said.
Mourners are calling the group “Burbank’s Angels” and have dedicated a growing makeshift memorial to the victims near the crash site.
“She was crying and that was the first thing out of her mouth was she now has five new angels to watch over her,” said Savannah Underwood’s mother, Valerie Lucas.
Underwood’s family said the teen was in the passenger seat behind the driver. She reportedly crawled out of the car through a side window with the help of an employee from a nearby business, who helped pull her to safety.
“He heard her screaming and was literally able to drag her away from the vehicle,” said Lucas.
“When you have children, how grateful can you be that the good lord decided to say ‘get out’,” said her father, David Underwood.
The impact of the crash shattered the teen’s leg and pelvis but did not cause any internal injuries.
“She’s in a lot of pain,” her mother said. “She’s devastated by what has happened. She’s recovering. She’s a very, very strong girl.”
Underwood’s father said the teens were on their way home from a party when the accident happened.
They reportedly left the gathering at 4a.m. Saturday morning and were driving on San Fernando Rd. when the car hit a pillar on the freeway off-ramp, according to authorities.
Police said speed was a factor in the crash. They are investigating if alcohol was also involved.
Hospital officials said Underwood could be released as early as this week, but has a long road to recovery and will require months of physical therapy.
“To the other families, all we can say is we’re so sorry,” her father said. “We are so sorry.”