Community remembers teen who died after truck plunged off dark road

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- The first weekend of 2020 brought tragedy to a small community in Escondido when a truck carrying seven teenagers plunged off a dark road, killing one teen and injuring six others.

The accident happened around 2:30 a.m. Saturday in San Pasqual Valley when a pickup truck crashed off Summit Drive and Old Pasqual Road. Police say alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

The 18-year-old driver was heading north on Summit Drive when he attempted to turn left onto Old Pasqual Road. It's a sharp turn with low visibility, as the road turns upward and there are no street lights.

In the light of day, flowers and candles now adorn the scene of this tragic accident. Passersby can see the skid marks on the road where the driver tried to recover.

Five teenagers riding in the truck bed were thrown during the crash. One of the teens, identified as 18-year-old Jonah Staebell, suffered major injuries and died Saturday at Palomar Medical Center.

Staebell and the six other teens who were in the truck at the time of the crash attend The Classical Academies charter school, where Staebell played football and lacrosse. The school issued a statement after the crash that described Staebell as "a kind, smart, and popular student who was loved by all who knew him.”

Psychologists will be on hand for students when classes resume Tuesday.

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