GLENDORA (CBSLA) — A sea of people gathered on the Glendora High School football field Thursday night to remember 18-year-old Kerry Welsh.
“This is the Kerry effect,” a family friend said. “She was larger than life, yet the most humble about it.”READ MORE: Range Fire: Firefighters Stop Forward Progress Of Small Brush Fire In Sylmar
“She was the person that, when everything was wrong and nothing could ever be fixed, Kerry fixed it,” another friend said.
Welsh graduated from Glendora H.S. last May, leaving her mark as a soccer star and academic powerhouse.
She was the salutatorian of her class and had just started her college career at Loyola Marymount University on a full-ride scholarship when her life was cut short Saturday night.
Police said Welsh was on her way to pick up her little sister from a friend’s house when her car was struck by a suspected drunk driver. She was taken to a nearby hospital where she died from her injuries.
“Thank you for being the greatest girlfriend,” Nick Dergazarian said through tears at the vigil. “Sweet hometown girl who knew how to have fun in the simplest, easiest ways.”READ MORE: High Heat Expected To Grip Southern California This Week
Dergazarian said he would miss Welsh’s love for life the most. But her father, Albert, said he would miss her big heart and her dream to one day become a doctor. He recalled how she rushed to help him when he was diagnosed with epilepsy.
“Reached out to the staff at Loyola Marymount University to see if anyone was doing research on epilepsy so she could get involved and help her father out,” he said.
As people lit candles to honor the young woman, her father had one final request.
“Please don’t ever forget her,” he said. “Obviously that smile, those dimples, they will stay with me for life.”
The 24-year-old suspect was taken into custody. It was not immediately clear what, if any, charges he would be facing.MORE NEWS: Beloved Security Guard Killed In Hit-And-Run In Long Beach Identified As Derrick Smith
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family cover funeral costs and to set up a memorial fund in honor of the teen. As of Thursday, it had raised more than $48,000.