The driver who was found dead after his car drifted off Interstate 5 on Tuesday has been identified by family members as a sweet and caring person.
“His eyes and smile would brighten up anyone’s day,” is how Kelly Bataz describes her cousin.
José Cruz Pérez, 21, was found dead after apparently drifting down an embankment in his blue Nissan 350z Coupe and rolled several times off I-5 near State Route 54 in National City.
It is unclear how long the wreck had been there.
Pérez suffered severe injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
His family still doesn’t know what caused the incident.
"The last thing he told me when he went to the house, is that he loved me, and to take care,” María del Pilar Figueroa, Pérez's mother said.
Pérez was a busser for De’Medici restaurant in downtown, Telemundo 20 reached out to the owner who said everyone is devastated. He said Pérez was a good kid and a great worker.
The Pérez's are grateful for the support the community has given them during this difficult time.
“We are going through a difficult time, we never expected this, and we would never wish this upon anybody,” said Marco Pérez Soberanis, Pérez’s father. “We would like to thank everyone who has shown their support.”
The family has organized a fundraising event to help with funeral expenses. It will be held on Sunday, Feb. 16 from 2 to 8 p.m. at Legendary Hall in National City. They also set up a GoFundMe page.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing. The California Highway Patrol said Tuesday afternoon that they still had not determined the time, date or circumstances of the deadly crash.
It is unknown if alcohol or drugs were factors, the CHP added.
Anyone with information on this crash can reach out to CHP Officer Sal Castro at (858) 293-6000 or (916) 296-8135.