University City

Trees Planted in Honor of Victims of University City Jet Crash 10 Years Later

On Dec. 8, 2008, a FA-18-D Hornet crashed into University City homes, killing four people

A memorial was held Saturday to mark the 10th anniversary of the fighter jet that crash landed in University City, killing four people and destroying several homes.

Residents of the area gathered at the University Village Park on Cather Avenue and Florey Street to plant four trees in honor of those lost in the crash.

“I think it’s a lovely idea – beautiful, and I’m glad what’s done today,” said resident Choko McConnell.

McConnell saw the immediate aftermath of the crash on Dec. 8, 2008.

One of the engines on a FA-18-D Hornet died as a student Marine pilot was heading toward MCAS Miramar. It crashed landed, destroying two homes on Cather Avenue.

“I heard this deep sound go boom,” McConnell told NBC 7. “I hear airplanes all the time, and it sounded different.”

Young Mi Yoon, 36, and her 15-month-old Grace and two-month-old Rachel were killed in the crash. Young Mi’s mother, Suk Im Kim, also died. She was 59 years old.

“All I saw was flames. It was terrible,” McConnell said.

The names of the victims were hung near the base of each tree at the ceremony Saturday.

“Sponsors hope that by dedicating four trees as a living memorial to the four neighbors who died in the crash, the long process of healing will continue,” the University City Community Association said.

Don Yoon, Young Mi’s husband, was not home at the time of the crash.

“Later, I saw the husband as he rushed to see, nothing, the house was burning. It was very sad,” said McConnell

In Dec. 2011, the victims’ family gave an emotional testimony during a trial held for the jet crash.

"The U.S. Navy took all my dreams away. I have nothing," said Sanghyun Lee, Young Mi’s father.

The Marine Corps said bad decisions and a string of errors led to the deadly accident.

Almost $18 million was awarded to the relatives of the victims as the trail concluded at the end of 2011.

Residents were encouraged to participate in a moment of silence at 11:58 a.m. Saturday to remember all of those affected by the crash.

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