Eight Mile Road crash kills two LUSD students
STOCKTON — Chaplains from the Stockton Police Department and San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office offered bereavement and grieving services to students on two Lodi Unified School District campuses Monday after two classmates were killed over the weekend.
The Sheriff’s Office on Saturday identified 14year-old Richard Wilson and 12-year-old Sariah Sayasit as victims of a solo vehicle crash that occurred at 3:45 p.m. last Friday.
According to the California Highway Patrol, a 2006 Toyota Sienna van was traveling westbound on Eight Mile Road near King Island, when the driver lost control of the vehicle.
The CHP said the vehicle left the roadway, overturned and landed in White Slough on its roof. There were 10 children in the vehicle, ranging in age from 13 to 17, several of whom were not wearing seatbelts, the CHP said.
The driver, a 17-year-old girl, did not have a license, the CHP said. Several of the children were taken to local hospitals for treatment of minor to moderate injuries. Wilson and Sayasit were pronounced dead at the scene.
Wilson was a student at Bear Creek High School, and Sayasit was a student at Delta Sierra Middle School, according to LUSD.
A gofundme.com page has been established for Sayasit’s family, with a goal of $10,000 for funeral expenses. Those interested in donating can visit www.gofundme.com/f/sriah-sayasit.
Several people commented on CHP, LUSD and the Sheriff’s Office Facebook pages where news of the crash was posted.
Stockton resident Sandi Origone commented on the Sheriff’s Office post that her daughter went to school with Sayasit, and was in shock when she learned of her death.
“I told her their will be extra staff on site at school on Monday to give support to her and to the other students who all knew Sariah,” Origone said. “She said she feels really bad for Sariah’s family. We send our condolences to her family.”
Many people commenting wondered why a 17-year-old without a license was driving a car with nearly a dozen people in it, and why many of the children were not wearing seatbelts.
Cherie Pruitt said wearing sealtbelts in a vehicle was “a big deal” growing up, noting there were commercials and after-school specials on television warning both parents and children about the risks of traveling without them fastened.
“Every year I ask my students about seatbelts and if they wear them. I am surprised by their responses,” she said. “They say they will wear them if they are sitting in the front seat but not in the backseat because they believe they are safer back there. Then they make the argument that they’d rather be ejected than trapped. It’s so sad and we, as a nation need to do better at educating our youth.”
The CHP said Eight Mile Road was reopened at about 7:30 p.m. Friday night, and that it does not appear alcohol was a factor in the collision.