Escondido community members are remembering a beloved teen killed in a pickup truck rollover in San Pasqual Valley early Saturday morning. The truck containing seven teenagers, who were also the victim's football teammates, took a turn too fast and crashed, killing one and injuring several more, the California Highway Patrol said.
All five teenagers riding in the bed of the truck were thrown onto the road during the crash. One of those five, 18-year-old Jonah Staebell from Escondido, suffered major injuries and died Saturday at Palomar Medical Center.
Staebell was a senior at Classical Academy High School, a charter school in Escondido, where he played defensive lineman for varsity football and also loved art.
Head Football Coach Tim Sherlock said Staebell was a four-year football player who took great care of his teammates and classmates while also being a warrior on the field.
"He made everything around him just a little bit better, just a little bit brighter," Sherlock said. "He always went out of his way to take care of other people."
Over the weekend, community members held events to remember him such as a beach bonfire and a church gathering, Principal Dana Moen said.
"Our community is shocked and saddened by the recent accident and passing of one of our high school students, Jonah Staebell," school spokesperson Michelle Stanley said.
"Jonah was a kind, smart, and popular student who was loved by all who knew him. Our student body is mourning the loss as they return to class this week. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time," Stanley said.
A team of grief counselors will be available for students as they return to classes after the holiday break, according to the school.
According to a GoFundMe set up for the Staebell family, his grandmother Delores Staebell died Monday, Jan. 6, two days after Jonah Staebell's death.
"He was everything you want in a young man. He will be incredibly missed and I love him, I'm gonna miss him," coach Sherlock added.
The remaining four in the bed of the truck suffered moderate to major injuries and were also taken to Palomar Medical Center: one 17-year-old from Escondido, one 17-year-old from Encinitas, one 17-year-old from San Marcos, and one 18-year-old from Valley Center, the CHP said.
The driver was not under the influence of alcohol and/or drug impairment, investigators found.