An East County community continues to grieve after a Grossmont High School student was killed and several others were seriously injured in a rollover crash early Saturday morning.
On Monday, NBC 7 sat down with Caroline McCall, the mother of 16-year-old Gady Cruz, the driver who died in the crash.
Fighting back tears, McCall said her son’s memory is keeping him alive in her eyes.
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“I feel strong, but I miss him already,” McCall said. “Gady is -- I'm not going to say 'was' -- he is a great person. He's so kind. He's so thoughtful.”
As she prepared to see him Monday afternoon for the first time since he died at the scene of the accident, McCall said her faith was what’s giving her the strength to process the loss of her son
“I am a believer, and I believe that Gady is in a better place now, so I’m at peace,” McCall said.
According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, the Grossmont High School senior was driving a 2018 black Honda Civic carrying three other passengers when he lost control going eastbound at a high speed, hitting a light pole and overturning at the intersection of Fletcher Parkway and Navajo Road shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday.
Cruz, who was driving without a seatbelt, died at the scene. Paramedics took the three other passengers, including two Grossmont High School 11th-graders, to local hospitals with serious injuries.
According to the El Cajon Police Department, an investigation into whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in the deadly crash is still ongoing.
In a statement, Grossmont Union High School District confirmed that the driver was a 12th-grade student who attended Grossmont High School, adding that two of the three passengers are 11th-grade students who also attend Grossmont. The third passenger is not GUHSD student.
Since the crash, community members and Grossmont High School students have turned the intersection, as well as El Cajon’s Renette Park, into a growing memorial, leaving flowers, candles and photos to pay tribute to the teen and pray for those injured.
Nearly 100 people gathered at Renette Park Sunday night to honor Gady Cruz and the other students injured in the crash.
Grossmont Union High School District officials said in a statement that they are “working closely with the El Cajon Police Department as their investigation of the incident continues” and “will be providing additional grief support on campus at Grossmont High School and will also make it available to students throughout our close-knit GUHSD community.”
Of the three teenagers who survived, at least two are still in comas. The mother of one told NBC 7 that on Sunday night, her son opened his eyes and moved his hand for the first time since the accident. She said she has been by his bedside praying for more progress.
Gady’s mother said her family is planning to hold a memorial service for the teen on Wednesday.
El Cajon police urge anyone with any information regarding the crash to call 619-579-3311.