Friends of a 14-year-old Chula Vista skateboarder came together Thursday night to fondly remember their classmate.
Officials said his speed caused him to lose control and fall off his skateboard. He was then hit by an oncoming vehicle. The teen sustained major head trauma and was pronounced dead a short time later at UCSD Medical Center.
On Thursday, dozens of teens gathered in front of Hilltop High School to remember their friend with an impromptu vigil.
The mood was somber, with many still trying to process the sadness of their sudden loss.
“I brought [Justin] a flower. I care about him a lot. I’m here to support him. I know he would have done the same for me,” said Hertzberg’s friend Audrey Kierstead.
Friends said Hertzberg loved skateboarding and meeting new people. Even as a freshman at Hilltop High, friends said he was able to make an impact.
A special "Rest in Peace" poster created by students and delivered to Hertzberg’s parents shows just that. On it are heartfelt messages from friends remembering the joy he brought to their lives.
“He was always happy. It didn’t matter the situation. It didn’t matter if you knew him. He was always trying to get to know other people,” recalled friend Anabel Dominguez-Chio.
Friends also gathered Thursday at the spot in Chula Vista where Hertzberg crashed.
They lit candles and tried to shake off tears.
Now, some of his skateboarding friends are thinking twice about their hobby.
“It could be anyone. Not just him -- anyone that skates. It’s just scary,” said friend Josh Marcello.
“It’s good to take protection, but you know you’re not going to get every kid in the world to wear helmets. So it’s going to be a difficult challenge to get the word out,” added friend Ziggy Cararnza.
A more official vigil for Hertzberg is set to be held this Saturday at Hilltop High School so more students, friends and loved ones have a chance to say goodbye.