He Can’t Be Gone

Shortly after 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 6, a sound like a plane crashing in my yard took me to my window. Nothing stirred, then neighbors came running out of their houses. Around the corner I followed, my shoes crunching on bits of glass and plastic. It was dark. Porch lights cast a dull glow over a grim scene.

Voices were yelling, “Push! Push” A Toyota Tundra truck that a moment ago was laying on its side bounced upright on its tires. The driver’s upper body had been pinned under the truck.

“He’s breathing,” shouted a young man in a blue Blockbuster shirt. “I need light,” he pleaded. A bystander with a phone to his ear yelled, “I have 911 right now.” Someone used the glow from their iPhone to illuminate the driver.

“He’s not breathing,” Blockbuster man said aloud. “I got no pulse. I’ll do CPR. Somebody give him breaths,” he calmly requested to others. A San Diego sheriff’s deputy arrived and said he’d get his mask. They did their best, but the driver was dead.

Afterward, Jeremy, who works at Blockbuster in El Cajon, said, “A thick, viscous fluid was coming out of his mouth like he had bit off his tongue, and he had a bad gash in his head.”

As friends of the driver arrived at the scene, a story emerged. A 24-year-old married man had been drinking beer with his friends. When he wanted to leave, his friends offered to drive him. He refused. Someone said, “My mom said he peeled out going crazy.”

A neighbor said the truck “screamed through the stop sign” at 11th and Grove. The truck hit a parked VW Passat, flipped on its side and did a 180, crashing against two more parked cars.”

The driver’s wife soon arrived. Deputies kept her back behind crime-scene tape. “Why can’t I see him,” she demanded. Two deputies took her aside. “They worked on him -- but they couldn’t do anything,” they told her. “Oh, my God! He’s dead? I need to see him. Please,” she pleaded before she collapsed in the street. “He can come back! He can’t be gone!”

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Well, at least he didn't take any innocents out.

The Reader just lost a reader and customer....have you no empathy for the family and friends of this young man? Publishing an article based on hearsay? Let him and his family rest...please

The stringer article does not identify the driver who according to the Sheriffs report "was speeding for some unknown reason". Witness's at the scene guessed the speed of the truck at 50mph on a residential street that parallels an elementary school. I have written letters to the Mayor and City Manager of Imperial Beach and to the South County Eagle & Times suggesting the residents who responded to the scene be recognized for their heroic efforts. The letter basically said the following:

"On Thursday night August 6 Imperial Beach residents along 11th Street and Grove responded heroically after a speeding Toyota Tundra pickup truck hit several parked cars lost a front tire flipped on its side partially ejecting the driver. Residents swarmed out of their homes and without regard to their own safety lifted the truck off the driver and several attempted to resuscitate him. If this accident had occurred during the day and video taken it would have made a compelling news story broadcast across the nation, but since it happened in the dark only those neighbors that participated know the actions they took. Actions that make people, ordinary people, Heroes. Their heroism and bravery are a credit to the people of Imperial Beach and all of San Diego County. I have mentioned to Sheriff Deputy Lopez the investigating officer that those people involved need to be recognized for their actions. I have suggested to Mayor Janney that an award or public recognition was in order for the civic bravery displayed by the residents of 11th and Grove."

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