SAN DIEGO - The friends and families of two young boys killed over the weekend in a freeway crash say their community has lost two exemplary citizens.
On Sunday afternoon, 10-year old Latrelle Pearson and his friend, 9-year old Xavier Williams, died in a crash on the I-15 near Deer Springs Road. The minivan they were riding in swerved and then rolled and the boys who weren't belted in were ejected from the vehicle. The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but CHP officers say it likely had to do with a lane change.
Solomon Washington, Pearson's best friend, said the days spent at the Skyline Hills Community Center just won't be the same without his buddy.
"I was sad, and we all started crying," said Washington. "I found out he died, and I was just sad.
Solomon's grandmother, Rhonda Washington, said Latrelle was like one of her own and the news hit her hard.
"I can't believe he's gone, I mean every single day he was at my house with my four boys." said Washington. "I've been broken ever since, I mean just broken, I mean I cry."
Both boys were well known in the community.
"He would be the one to grab my groceries to take them out of my truck," said Washington through tears. "'Miss Rhonda, I'll do it,' and I wouldn't have to ask him."
"Latrelle was bigger than life around here. Everybody knew him," said Paul Anderson, a football coach at the recreation center. "Everybody loved him and took him in, and that's a big loss. And Xavier's a big loss also to our whole Skyline community."
Both Pearson and Williams were also known for their athletic talents. Tyrone Carter was Xavier's Football Coach.
"He was our quarterback. He took us to a title championship last year," Carter said. "We instill in our children that take care of business at home, at school and on the field. Up until this point , they have both instilled that in this community."
In a week, the two boys were supposed to take to the field again to kick off the new football season. Solomon's said that he'll do his best to carry on Latrelle's legacy.
"I'm going to try and play my heart out just for him," the boy said.
Two members of Xavier's family are still in the hospital. Roy Ruffin, Jr., the driver of the minivan, was not injured in the crash. It's not known if he will face any charges for not making sure the boys wearing their seatbelts.
A candlelight vigil will be held 7 p.m. Wednesday night at Skyline Hills Recreation Center for both Latrelle Pearson and Xavier Williams.