Hundreds gathered to remember a CHP officer, his wife, teenage daughter and brother-in-law who were all killed in a fiery crash in Santee.
Mark Saylor, 45, his wife Cleofe, 45, their daughter Mahala, 13 and brother-in-law Chris Lastrella, 38, died in the August 28 crash on highway 125.
“It has been painful, it has been rough. My family has been helping me, supportive the whole time,” family friend Mike May said. “The healing process has started.”
Family and friends paid their respects at a private memorial held at the Calvary Church in Chula Vista on Saturday afternoon.
“It was sad,” 9-year-old Maya Torres said. “I saw some people crying, some people smiling… I just wish the best for their family.”
Witnesses reported seeing a Lexus weaving through traffic at a high rate of speed. The driver tried to make a left turn, but he was going too fast and struck a Ford Explorer. The Lexus broke through a fence and struck a dirt embankment, catapulting it through the air more than 100 feet. The vehicle landed in dense vegetation near a riverbed and caught fire.
“Just to hear about this is surreal. It’s hard to believe they are gone,” Greg Fajardo said.
Saylor was driving the car according to investigators. The car was a loaner from Bob Baker Lexus in El Cajon where Saylor's personal Lexus was being serviced.
“We came from Los Angeles, it was important because all our family knew them,” Manette Fajardo said.
Some hardly knew the family but said attending the memorial was a way to bring them closure.
“They came to the restaurant several times, really sweet people really nice,” Xochitl Maldonado said. “Something inside of me just told me, that’s the least you could do.”
After the service, balloons were released, some with hand-written messages like this one for 13-old-old Mahala:
“Although you are gone in person, you live inside our hearts, we love and miss you so much.”