Last year on Memorial Day 2013, five Irvine teenagers were tragically killed in a car crash.
In a previous post, we revealed that drugs and alcohol were not a factor in the crash, but high speed most likely was. And the driver of the vehicle, a 17 year old male, did not have a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit.
Three girls (two of whom were sisters, their parents’ only children) and two boys were lost that day. Four of them were 17 years old, one was 16.
The crash occurred on Jamboree in Newport Beach, when the 2008 Infiniti veered into the center divider and struck a tree. Four of the victims were ejected from the car, and one was partially ejected. The car was split in two.
This is a horrific, tragic event that words cannot describe. Words also cannot express the grief and sadness these families have felt over the past year – and will for the rest of their lives.
Two Wrongful Death Actions Filed
According to a June 12, 2014 article in The Daily Pilot, two of the families have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the driver’s parents.
The parents of Cecilia Zamora, 17, and sisters Robin Cabrera, 17, and Aurora Cabrera, 16, are alleging that the parents of the 17-year-old driver, Abdulrahman Alyahyan, were negligent for allowing their unlicensed son to get behind the wheel. (He was driving on an expired provisional license.) According to the lawsuit, Alyahyan’s guardians knew he had “careless, reckless, violent and reckless driving propensities.”
One witness to the crash said Alyahyan was driving an estimated 100 mph in a 55 mph zone.
Both lawsuits also name the City of Newport Beach, arguing there is not enough space along Jamboree for an out-of-control car to stop before hitting the median, and that the city should have installed safety barriers around the trees.
What can we learn from this tragedy?
There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
– Dalai Lama XIV
Perhaps one of the worst things about this tragedy is that it was most likely completely avoidable. Driving without a valid license, driving with passengers before it is legal to do so, driving at high speeds – all these are things that could have been avoided with more responsible choices.
We aren’t here to place blame on anyone, but simply to say that we do not want to hear of another tragedy like this ever again. Teenagers don’t always make the wisest, most mature decisions. But they don’t have the wisdom and experience in life that adults have. (Nor do they have the cognitive ability to fully appreciate the consequences of their decisions.)
Teenagers need responsible, caring adults in their lives who will take the time to teach AND model good behavior, and who will have the courage to place boundaries – even if they are unpopular and met with resistance – on them.
Parents, we beseech you, take the time to teach your teenagers. The odds are already against them when it comes to driving. We will most certainly do our part, but we need your help in teaching them how to be safe in the driver’s seat.