Family grieves veteran killed in wrong-way crash

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IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — A family in Imperial Beach is mourning the loss of an Army veteran killed in a crash on the Interstate 5 freeway over the weekend.

Loved ones say David Ramirez was hit by a wrong-way driver. The Ramirez family held his military ceremony and funeral Thursday night at Church of Christ. The mood was somber as the family grieved the 23-year-old, whom they call a hero.

With military honors and the Patriot Guard Riders by their side, the family said their final goodbyes.

“My heart just dropped and honestly I don’t know how to describe that but even to this day I still can’t believe it,” brother Sergio Ramirez said.

Just before 5 a.m. Saturday, a driver traveling northbound on the southbound lanes I-5, slammed into David’s Ford Focus, according to California Highway Patrol. Both drivers died. 

“I feel sad,” said sister-in-law Savanah Evans. I feel hurt. And now we lost a brother. We lost a piece of us.”

David served in the U.S. Army for four years and had deployed to Germany. His family remembers him as a hard working man with a memorable smile.

“The smile that he had that everybody remembers,” says Ramirez. “That little laugh. Oh it’s memorable. Everybody knows it.”

David leaves behind his parents, brother, wife and four-month-old daughter. 

“He left behind a baby that has no clue what happened,” Evans said. “But we’ll make sure that we remind her every day what a great father her dad was.”

CHP said the other driver did not have their headlights on.

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