SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — Firefighters are helping a Nevada family who lost their 2-year-old son in a car crash Friday in Santa Monica’s McClure Tunnel.
The dad was working in LA this past week and the Looney family was on their way to the beach from their Las Vegas home when a speeding truck slammed into their vehicle as he rounded a blind curve into the tunnel, according to California Highway Patrol.
Two-year-old Noah was killed.
The family’s 17-year-old son. Jeremiah, was severely injured and hospitalized at UCLA Medical Center. Jeremiah has a fractured neck. The engaged couple and three of their children sustained mild to moderate injuries.
The Santa Monica Firefighters Association has established a fund to assist the Looney family with medical costs, which they opened with a $1,000 donation.
On Sunday, CBS2’s Joy Benedict spoke to the grieving father who wanted to express his gratitude to first responders and to the strangers who have come forward to help his family emotionally and financially.
“I looked in the rear view mirror and I seen this semi truck coming,” said Ronnell Looney, “I got out of the way but it still hit me.”
Looney told Benedict he was driving the minivan with his fiance and five of his seven children when he got sandwiched between the semi truck and a dump truck.
“I was just beside myself,” he says, “I couldn’t do anything.”
Looney wanted to thank the doctor on scene who wasn’t able to save his son but worked so hard to try.
“She took over and tried to resuscitate my child … I just really want to tell her ‘Thank you very much [for the effort.’]”
He chokes back tears talking about the son who didn’t make it.
“Noah was a wonderful little boy,” Ronnell said.
The firefighters told Benedict they were so moved by this family’s story they couldn’t help but get involved.
“Heading to the beach and being so close they could see the ocean and not make it — that really touched us all,” said Battalion Chief Mark Bridges of the Santa Monica Fire Department.
Looney is touched beyond measure.
“I’m a complete stranger and they don’t know me from anyone else. But you have my gratitude. They took care of me and my family. I don’t know how I can ever say thank you.”
Those wishing to help this grief-stricken family can mail a check or cash to:
SMFF – Looney Family
222 Hollister Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Donations can also be made to the Chase bank account #3095918057.