“Long Live Lalo, Sebastian, George, Ariahh, Angel… forever in our hearts.”
The posters now hang on a fence overlooking the 710 Freeway at the 91 Freeway connector, where all five lost their lives.
The mementos were hung Wednesday evening, while candles and flowers lined a stretch of sidewalk, as part of a vigil to remember the five lives that were cut short early Monday morning.
The names on the posters refer to Angel Sixtos, 18, Eduardo “Lalo” Cruz, 18, George Dobbs, 15, Ariahh Slemaker, 15, and Sebastian Peredia, 16, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s office. All five died Monday morning when the vehicle they were traveling in suddenly veered to the right and crashed into an attenuator on the 710 Freeway.
It’s still not clear what caused the car to veer to the right or whether speed was a factor in the crash, although police have said the car was overcapacity and some people were not wearing seatbelts. Dash camera video from another car on the road appears to show the vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed compared to other motorists.
What is clear, though, is that all five were loved, and their absence is deeply felt among the dozens of people who showed up to Wednesday’s vigil.
Among them was an 18-year-old friend of two of the victims, who preferred to go by David.
David said he met Dobbs back in elementary school and remained friends through their time at Lakewood High School. He reminisced about the adventures they had throughout the years.
“He was so sweet and kind,” David said about Dobbs. “Ariahh, she was a firecracker.”
David recalled how he recently spent time with Dobbs and Slemaker on the last day of school, on June 15.
He said the trio were on campus making plans for the summer and for the school next year.
“It’s just real sad, you know?” David said. “That was my little ride-or-die homie. … I’m gonna miss him.”
Other friends shared a similar sentiment, describing the victims as attentive and loyal companions.
“I cried all day when I found out,” said Angel Valladolid. “It felt unreal.”
In an instant on Monday morning, so many people lost a loved one. And together, they shared in their grief on Wednesday with tears, prayers and hugs.
Nothing can bring their five loved ones back to life, but together, their community will ensure their memories live on.
Lalo, Sebastian, George, Ariahh and Angel will be forever in their hearts.