Eight Mile Road crash kills two LUSD stu­dents

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Wes Bow­ers NEWS-SEN­TINEL STAFF WRITER

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.

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