A car crash on the night of September 9 claimed the life of Marie “Lizzie” Johnson,16, and injured six others.
The driver, 19 year-old Antonio Escamilla, was following closely behind another vehicle at . When that vehicle slowed down, Escamilla braked hard, lost control and swerved to the side of Santiago Canyon Road in Orange County. Authorities estimate that he was traveling at around 70 mph in a 55 zone and that he was drinking alcohol before the crash. According to NBC Los Angeles, cans of beer were found on the scene.
Because she was not wearing her seatbelt, Johnson was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. The other passengers suffered minor injuries and were hospitalized.
Escamilla, a recent graduate of Irvine High, will be charged with felony driving under the influence (DUI) and vehicular manslaughter.
Johnson had just returned the previous day from a trip to Hawaii and was supposed to start school on Tuesday morning as a junior at Irvine High School. Now, her death is serving as a wake-up call to students in Irvine about reckless driving and driving under the influence.
David Yoon, a senior at Northwood High School, said, “This is so sad. Drunk driving puts the lives of so many people in danger. Driving has to be taken more seriously because it can lead to so many unfortunate consequences, as we have seen in the past year.”
The accident has reminded students of the crash on May 27 that killed one student from University High School and four other students from Irvine High School.
Ted Kwon, an Irvine High School senior, said, “I can’t believe this happened again in less than a year. It’s a bad start to the school year.”
A vigil dedicated to Johnson was held at Irvine High on Wednesday, September 11, and counselors are currently assisting those who are seeking emotional support.
Ian Hannigan, of the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) said to NBC, ” We want to provide a safe place for students where they can go and share their feelings and talk it out, and just be able to process some of these emotions.”