Grief counselors will be at two Irvine high schools Wednesday after five students were killed in a Newport Beach car crash.
Grief and shock spread across Irvine on Tuesday as news spread about the deaths. All five teenagers were riding in a car that crashed into a tree and was torn apart in Newport Beach on Memorial Day.
“There are simply no words to convey the sorrow felt by our students and staff, nor are there answers sufficient to explain why five vibrant teenagers who were with us on Friday are gone today,” Irvine Unified School District Supt. Terry Walker said Tuesday.
Police say the 17-year-old driver, Abdulrahman M. Alyahyan, a senior at high-achieving University High School, was speeding south in an Infiniti on Jamboree Road near Island Lagoon Drive when the car swerved out of control and struck a tree in the median.
The impact sheared the Infiniti in two, and what was left caught fire. Abdulrahman and all his passengers were killed.
Among them were two sisters who attended Irvine High School — Robin A. Cabrera, 17, a senior, and Aurora C. Cabrera, 16, a sophomore.
Also killed were Nozad Al Hamawendi, 17, and Cecilia D. Zamora, 17, both juniors at Irvine High School.
“You never saw that guy frown once,” Aram Yaco, 17, a friend of Nozad’s.
Kelly Dunkle, 17, added that Nozad would compliment complete strangers: “He would just go out and tell you how good you are.”
Friends described Cecilia as “bubbly” and “one of the happiest people you’ll ever meet.” As Kelly recalled, “It was funny when she tried to be mean, because she couldn’t.”
Ida Lodriguito, step-grandmother to the Cabrera sisters, recalled them as “very loving and caring girls.” She said they were “raised in a nurturing atmosphere,” adding that they had died “so close to becoming adults.”
The girls’ uncle, Bernard Cabrera, said they appeared shy at first and had big hearts.
“Their dad could never say no to them,” he said. “How could you? They were always so sweet.”
Newport Beach police said Abdulrahman had been speeding on a downhill stretch of road with a posted 55 mph speed limit. The road is a popular bypass between the 405 Freeway and Pacific Coast Highway.