A young man killed trying to help the victims of a crash on a San Diego freeway will forever be remembered by his loved ones as an optimistic person who loved to help others.
El Cajon resident Daniel Morales, 23, was killed early Friday morning on State Route 67 at State Route 52 in Santee in a five-vehicle collision that shut down several lanes of the freeways for many hours.
According to California Highway Patrol officials, Morales witnessed a crash involving two cars at first and got out of his car to help the victims. He was standing near the median helping one of the victims when he was struck by an oncoming car.
The impact threw Morales into the southbound lanes, where he was hit again by another vehicle. The Good Samaritan died at the scene, officials said.
Morales’ grieving loved ones spoke exclusively to NBC 7 Friday night about what kind of man he was. They said his selfless actions on that freeway trying to help people in need describe Morales to a T.
“Anytime he could help – even if he didn’t need to – he still was there. Always there,” said friend Tiffany Annenson. “I’m not surprised. This is something he would do for anybody.
Elizabeth Rincon became fast friends with Morales years ago at Olive Pierce Middle School.
“Everyone who knows him knows how caring of a person he was and how important his family was to him,” Rincon told NBC 7, holding back tears.
She said she will always cherish her long friendship with Morales.
Morales graduated from Ramona High School in 2009. He then began working to help care for his family, especially his two sisters, the youngest just 6 years old.
Anneson said she forged a strong friendship with him at their previous job at Santa Ysabel Casino. He was just easy to love, she said.
“It only took a couple minutes to know him and he was in your heart forever,” she added.
Morales’ family told NBC 7 his mother was so overcome with grief after the tragic accident that she was hospitalized.
Morales’ sister, like so many of his friends, said he was a truly amazing person who always brought a smile to your face and will undoubtedly be sorely missed.
Funeral arrangements are still being planned.
The family has set up a memorial fund online. To donate, click here.