LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Loved ones gathered Tuesday evening to remember a young couple killed while escorting a bus full of high school seniors to Humbolt State University last week.
Michael Myvett and his fiancée, Mattison Haywood, were on the bus that crashed into a FedEx truck in Orland last Thursday, killing five students and five adults.
KCAL9’s Andrea Fujii spoke to friends and relatives of the couple in South Los Angeles, where an emotional vigil was held.
Outside the home where Michael grew up, his grandmother said loved ones were celebrating the lives of her late grandson and his bride-to-be.
“A million dollar smile means more than anything in the world so we are celebrating for him and Mattison,” she said.
“[She was] really a gentle spirit, a very sincere person, a very humble person, a very caring person,” Mattison’s friend, Davonna Foy, added.
Both Humboldt State graduates, the two were chaperones on the bus heading to their alma mater filled with prospective students.
“It’s just heartbreaking for him to go like that,” Myvett’s great aunt, Dorothy Dudley, said.
Myvett worked with children with autism, including Greg Madrid’s five-year-old son.
“Trying to find a way for him to verbalize anything is really difficult and Michael was able to get in there and get through all the grit and grime,” Madrid said of Myvett’s unforgettable work.
Not far, in South Los Angeles, the parents of another victim, Denise Gomez, were mourning.
Ernesto and Flor Gomez, speaking to KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen at their Inglewood home on Tuesday, said their daughter is presumed dead although investigators have yet to identify her remains.
“I can’t feel bigger pain than what I’m feeling right now,” her mother said.
The 18-year-old, who was a senior at Ánimo Charter High School, had a bright future ahead. Her mother proudly showed off college admission letters she had recently received from St. Mary’s College and California State University.
Selfless and fiercely independent, she told her parents she was determined to pay for college herself.
“‘You’re going to be proud of me, dad. You’re going to be proud. You’ll see. I’m going to do a lot of things for you dad,'” her father remembered her saying.
Crash investigators said Tuesday it will take months to determine what caused the deadly crash.