Members of a local car enthusiasts club staged a parking lot, candlelight vigil for their two fallen friends, a pair of active-duty Navy sailors killed in an overnight crash Friday in Rancho Bernardo.
Friends identified the sailors as Kayden Metcalf, 19, and Vaughn Thompson, 21. They were killed when Metcalf's Mercedes, with Thompson in the passenger seat, struck a tree along Bernardo Heights Parkway at around 12:45 a.m.
The sailors were part of the Murdrcars car club. Upon the news of their passing, Murdrcars, with the support of a half-dozen other clubs, staged a vigil at the park and ride lot in Mira Mesa. Candles, cards, loud engines and neon chassis underglow set the mood for the night of remembrance.
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"It's very devastating, but I know they are in a better place now and I know they are watching us from above," fellow Murdrcars member Javier Jimenez said.
SDPD Sgt. Nick Browder said the Mercedes was headed eastbound at a high rate of speed when Metcalf apparently lost control. They were trapped in the wreckage for 20 minutes before they were freed and rushed to the hospital, Browder said.
"Wrong place wrong time. It didn't go the way they thought they would go. Just a very terrible crash," Jimenez said.
Friday's vigil was a strong show of support. There were tears and hugs, and well wishes and farewells written on a large canvas next to Thompson's car.
"There was just something about Vaughn that brought a light of hope and clarity to one another especially to people who were having hard times," Jiminez said of Thompson.
The Navy confirmed the crash victims were sailors but did not identify them. The sailors were assigned to an aircraft carrier and a helicopter squadron.
“Unfortunately, a Sailor assigned to USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and a Sailor assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, were involved in a fatal vehicle accident in Rancho Bernardo, California this morning. The Abraham Lincoln crew and our HSC-14 Sailors deeply mourn this loss," Lt. Alyssa La Rosa, spokesperson for Commander, Naval Air Forces said. "The incident remains under investigation and the U.S. Navy is cooperating fully with local authorities. Please contact the San Diego Police Department for more information on this incident.”
SDPD Sgt. Nick Browder said the force of the collision split the Mercedes in half, and emergency crews had to cut through the doors and roof in order to remove the men from inside. They were then rushed to local hospitals, but both died, Browder confirmed.
Jiminez said he wants the sailors remembered as a positive light for the car club and the world.