HACIENDA HEIGHTS (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds of mourners attended a vigil held Monday night for a teenage couple killed Sunday in a crash in Hacienda Heights.
Shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, a dark 2013 Lexus ES 350 and a white 2015 Toyota Tacoma collided at the Seventh Avenue off-ramp of the eastbound 60 Freeway.
The force of the crash caused the Lexus to veer off the freeway and landed on its roof in the parking lot of a Denny’s restaurant.
The top of the pickup that carried George Steward of West Covina and his girlfriend, Sabrina Castillo, both 18, was sheared off. Paramedics pronounced the teenage couple dead at the scene.
“It’s just tragic. But at the end, they are together. That’s all that mattered. That’s how they wanted it,” cried Irasema Silva, Sabrina’s mother, who was at the vigil.
Sabrina’s uncle, Brendan Castillo, said “She was full of energy. She was very smart, very intelligent, just full of life.”
“She was just a special kid,” added O.J. Castillo, Sabrina’s uncle. “We’re really going to miss her. Two young people to go that quickly, it’s not right.”
Steward’s younger brother, Ray Steward, openly wept as he talked about his brother.
The couple graduated from Los Altos High School in 2014 and were going to college, according to family and friends.
The victims’ families said Sabrina wanted to be a makeup artist, and Steward wanted to join the National Guard. The two had planned to get married.
Family members said Steward and Castillo were going to Knott’s Scary Farm at the time of the crash.
Firefighters rescued two people from the Lexus – the driver, Key Kim, 68, and his passenger, Young Kim, 62, both of Hacienda Heights. They were treated for serious injuries, according to California Highway Patrol officers.
“Due to Kim driving his Lexus ES 350 at an extremely high rate of speed and his failure to stop at the stop sign and marked limit line at the end of the (Seventh Avenue) freeway offramp,” the CHP reported. “Kim was unable to negotiate his intended right turn, causing the Lexus ES 350 to bottom out prior to entering the southbound Seventh Avenue lanes.”
“The Lexus proceeded to travel across the southbound Seventh Avenue lanes, colliding with the raised concrete center median separating the southbound and northbound lanes of Seventh Avenue,” according to the CHP.
The Lexus subsequently became airborne and collided with the Toyota Tacoma, which was northbound on Seventh Avenue. The Lexus sheared off the top of the Toyota’s cab, and the truck came to rest in the No. 2 lane of Seventh Avenue, south of the freeway, according to the CHP.
The CHP said alcohol and drugs were not factors in the crash.