Four members of a church group were killed on their way to an ice-skating rink Friday when their speeding 1994 Toyota Camry reportedly went out of control on the 60 Freeway in Pomona and rolled over. According to a KNX 1070 news report, all in the car were high school or college students. Killed in this crash were 21-year-old Richard Kim, 19-year-old Kevin Na, 18-year-old Daniel Kim and 16-year-old David Chung.
The car reportedly struck the center divider and rolled over. Three of the occupants were hurled from the vehicle with one landing in opposing traffic, the report said. Two died on the scene and two others died later in a local hospital. Na’s brother, 16-year-old Stanley, was the sole survivor of the crash and is now in stable condition, according to news reports.
In another rollover accident in San Diego on Saturday, 39-year-old Richard Guzman died and two others were injured when a pickup rolled several times on a surface street in Lake Morena, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. According to the report, the driver of the 2002 Ford Ranger, Michael Thompson, lost control of the vehicle. Guzman, who was sitting in the back seat, was not wearing his seatbelt, the report states.
The other fatal San Diego rollover accident reportedly occurred Friday night in Campo when 59-year-old Luis Garcia lost control of his vehicle, which flipped over. Garcia, who was also not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from his vehicle and died, the Union-Tribune article says. According to officials 95 percent of California drivers comply with the law mandating seatbelt usage. More than 50 percent of people killed in auto accidents were not wearing a seatbelt, officials said.
Our condolences and prayers go to victims of all these tragic crashes. Two of these accidents involved lack of seatbelt usage. Had these men worn their seatbelts, they may have been alive today. As for the crash involving the young people in Pomona, preliminary investigations show speed could have been a factor. However, it is important to remember with all these crashes that no one should jump to conclusions about the cause of the accident. In each of these cases, the driver could have lost control of the vehicle because of another vehicle on the road, an object on the road, a roadway defect or a mechanical failure or defect.
While each of these cases calls for a thorough investigation, they are also a reminder to all of us to watch that speedometer as we set off on the freeway and make sure we are all buckled up. When on the road, safety comes first. It is also our responsibility as adults to remind our young people to take safety measures while driving. Teen and young adult passengers should positively use peer pressure on their driver to make them drive safely and within the speed limit. Let’s remember that thrills are momentary. But a life lost is lost forever.