The South Bay is mourning the loss of a local student-athlete who died in a car crash this past weekend at the age of 21.
Micah Pietila-Wiggs was killed Saturday morning when he lost control of his pickup truck while traveling on Interstate 5 south and crashed into a concrete barrier just north of the San Ysidro Port of Entry. The San Diego County Medical Examiner said in a statement he was the sole occupant of the vehicle at the time.
The Chula Vista native played on Eastlake High School's baseball team before graduating in 2018. In 2013, when he was just 13 years old, he helped his Eastlake Little League Team team from Chula Vista advance to South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and win the U.S. Championship at the Little League World Series. The team went on to lose to Japan in the world title game.
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The league released a somber statement following Pietila-Wiggs’ passing, in which they remembered him for his excellence.
“Micah was an instrumental part of the 2013 Eastlake Little League (ELL) World Series team,” the league said in a social media post on Sunday. “Micah continued to excel as an athlete beyond little league playing multiple sports. He received accolades for his athleticism and academic performance throughout high school.”
ELL added that its trophy case has been opened as a vigil site for mourners to pay their respects.
After high school, Pietila-Wiggs attended the University of New Mexico where he played baseball during the spring 2019 season.
Moments that led up to the crash remain under investigation.
"Not only a great kid, just a great adult now. He was an adult. He’s just an awesome kid,” said David Gallegos, head baseball coach at Eastlake High. "It was the toughest news you can get."
Coach Gallegos said Pietila-Wiggs remained a presence on Chula Vista baseball scene well after continuing his playing career in college.
"The kid made everybody feel like they were your best friend. Everybody. He treated everybody equally. Just a really kind kid. Always smiling, always happy, always laughing," he said.
Gallegos said the high school will host a public vigil for Pietila-Wiggs on Wednesday at 6 p.m. on the school’s baseball diamond.