Teen who lost mom, sister in fiery crash shares powerful message

SAN DIEGO -- A teenager whose mother and sister were killed in a fiery wrong-way crash on Interstate 805 last week is speaking out with a message filled with both raw emotion and forgiveness and is using his voice to bring national attention to the tragedy.

Aileen Pizzarro and her 12-year-old daughter, Aryanna, were killed Thursday when a YouTube star named Trevor Heitmann drove the wrong way onto the freeway and crashed his McClaren sports car into their SUV. After the crash, Pizzarro’s son, Angelo, mobilized social media in hopes of getting Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, his mother's favorite actor, to make a special video to be played at her funeral.

“At at the end of the day the only thing that matters is that my mom's and my sister’s legacy is always remembered,” Angelo Pizzaro said.

The 19-year-old posted a message to Twitter to The Rock, and it was shared thousands of times.  Within 24 hours, The Rock responded with a video sending his condolences.

“Why did over 4½ million people see that tweet that I thought would go nowhere?” Pizzaro asked. “The reason is because it could have been anyone, and you know and that’s the scary thing.”

Pizzaro said it would be easier to wallow in his sadness and anger -- and he was angry at the parents of 18-year-old Trevor Heitmann -- but he believes his mother and sister would want him to let go of the anger.

“They would have wanted me to forgive and to recognize that Mr. and Mrs. Heitmann did lose their 18-year-old son,” Pizzaro said. “Yes they are not here. OK. Now let’s do something about that. Let’s do something positive about that! Let’s change the world on that!”

A GOFUNDME account to raise $5,000 to help cover funeral costs has already reached more than $50,000. In addition, one of his sister Aryanna’s favorite recording artists, Alicia Cara, sent a video message expressing her condolences as well.