Grief counselors were on call at West Hills High School Friday to help students process their shock and grief over the death of a classmate in a traffic crash in front of the East County campus.
Ryan Willweber, 17, had just pulled out of a north-facing driveway at his school in the 8700 block of Mast Boulevard when the sedan he and his younger brother were in was hit broadside by an eastbound Ford Explorer shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday, according to sheriff’s officials.
The force of the impact pushed the car into a Ford F150 pickup truck whose driver was waiting to make a left turn onto the campus.
Emergency crews had to free Ryan from the mangled car, which took about 20 minutes. Medics airlifted the El Cajon resident to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Passalacqua said.
A ground ambulance crew took Cory Willweber to the same trauma center for treatment of a fractured jaw, broken clavicle and other injuries.
The driver of the SUV, also a West Hills student, was evaluated for complaints of pain.
During a briefing at the school late this morning, Santee Mayor Randy Voepel told news crews the stretch of roadway where the deadly wreck occurred had historically been a safe one.
“At this intersection, over the last 10 years, we’ve had one minor accident, and that was a left-hand turn by a student going into the high school,” Voepel said.
Preliminary evidence suggested that the cause of the crash was a “likely unsafe” driving maneuver on the part of Ryan Willweber, sheriff’s Capt. James Bovet told reporters. The driver of the Explorer was not believed to have been speeding at the time of the crash, Bovet said. He added, however, that the investigation was ongoing.
The mayor and sheriff’s captain offered their condolences to the victims’ families and all others affected by the fatal collision.
“On behalf of the city of Santee, we would like to reach out to all of our families (regarding) this tragic accident, and let everyone know that our hearts and our minds are with them,” Voepel said.
—City News Service
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