Here are the stories of the 16 local children, teens, and young adults who have died in drunk driving related incidents.
Nicholas G. Archer, Hart High
Angel Date : January 7th, 1979
Nick was a passenger in a VW bug that hit the railroad tracks, went airborne, and rolled over. He was ejected out of the back window and killed. The driver was unaware that the Edison curve had train tracks. Drinking and fast driving did not help either.
James Paul Burke, Canyon High
Angel Date : August 28th, 1979
Jim was hit on San Fernando Road near 13th Street while driving to work. The driver who hit him had been partying all night and drinking.
William R. Mehr, Hart High
Angel Date : October 7th, 1982
Bill was run over on his motorcycle by a drunk driver on the Old Road in Newhall. The drunk driver was later found, arrested and convicted.
Darren Elliot Loyd, Hart High
Angel Date : March 20th, 1988
Darren was killed by a drunk driver on the San Marcos pass, coming home from Cal Poly for spring break.
James Robert Card, Canyon High, COC
Angel Date : April 17th, 1988
James was walking home early in the morning on Soledad Canyon Road when he was struck from behind by a hit-and-run driver. A CHP report revealed that the driver never stopped because no skid marks were found.
Darren A. Russo, Canyon High
Angel Date: September 15th, 1989
Darren was killed in Tennessee by a drunk driver.
Karen Christine Jackson, Canyon High
Angel Date: July 13th, 1990
Karen was hit by a drunk driver on Sand Canyon Road, south of Placerita Canyon. Four days later, she was declared brain dead.
Lauren Nicole Blaire, Saugus High
Angel Date: January 11th, 1998
Lauren was killed by a drunk driver on the corner of Plum Canyon and Bouquet Canyon after dropping a friend off.
Daniel Richard Renolds, Canyon High
Angel Date: February 15th, 2000
Danny and his brother Tim were back seat passengers in a car of five teens. The driver drove recklessly at over 100 mph on Soledad Canyon Road, lost control, went airborne, and landed upside down on top of another car, killing all three teens in the back seat and the adult driver of the second car.
Timothy Lee Renolds, Canyon High
Angel Date: February 15th, 2000
Tim and his little brother Danny, 15, were riding in the back seat of a car with 5 teens, along Soledad Canyon Road. The driver was driving at over 100 mph, lost control, went airborne, and landed upside down on another car. The driver of the other car and all three teens in the back seat were killed.
Nolan Dean LeMar, Hart High
Angel Date: April 9th, 2001
Nolan was killed by a drunk driver near Saugus Speedway on Soledad Canyon Road.
Olivia Lane Kares, Live Oak Elementary
Angel Date: January 18th, 2002
A drunk driver drove through a red light on Bouquet Canyon Road and ran into the family car. Olivia was in a coma for seven days at Children’s Hospital before she died.
Kiel Kudroff, Valencia High, College of the Canyons
Angel Date: December 11th, 2002
Kiel had just left a party. Due to the combination of alcohol and weariness, he crashed into the light pole at Newhall Ranch Road and McBean Parkway. He died instantly.
Daren Russell Schlender, Saugus High
Angel Date: April 11th, 1981
Riding his day-old Harley-Davidson up Bouquet Canyon Road past Urbandale Avenue, an intoxicated driver came out of a parking lot and broadsided him. Daren died at the hospital.
Ray David Crawford Furlong, Saugus High
Angel Date: February 28th, 1998
Ray lost control of his truck and hit a tree, killing him instantly. He was racing and had had a few beers.
These victims and many others who died as a result of a traffic incident are memorialized at the Youth Grove in Central Park. In the Santa Clarita Valley, 67 youth have died in traffic accidents.
Every victim was someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, or best friend. The City of Santa Clarita partnered with the Blue Ribbon Task Force to create a memorial in Central Park honoring each youth victim of traffic related incidents. 67 tree stumps, each symbolizing a life cut short, are aligned in a circle surrounded by numerous tall, aged trees, perhaps symbolizing each victim’s potential.
The Youth Grove was created both to “Know More” about the consequences of bad decisions on the road, and to stop the needless killings and say “No More” victims. Each youth, the youngest being 6, had a story, hobbies, passions and dreams. The Grove has been a spot not only to remember the deceased, but also to educate high school students, and encourage them to think before they drink and drive. Thousands of teens are brought to the Grove several times a year, through educational programs, support groups, and mourners, in hopes that we can end drunk driving deaths.
Many teens have visited the Grove since its dedication in 2006, and through education and wiser decisions, there have been no drinking and driving deaths since 2005.
Victims stories taken from www.santa-clarita.com, to read all their stories click here.