Second victim in fatal Huntington Beach crash ID’d as former Pacifica High football standout
The second victim in a fatal crash Tuesday on a stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach has been identified as 19-year-old Mitchell Tyler Wade, a former football player for Pacifica High School in Garden Grove.
The Orange County coroner’s office identified Wade, who was driving southbound on the highway near Warner Avenue at 6:42 p.m. when his 1999 Toyota Solara was struck by a pickup truck whose driver Huntington Beach police officers allege was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, according to a department release issued Tuesday.
Eric Michael Kinser, 35, of Sunset Beach was arrested on suspicion of DUI in the multi-vehicle collision, which also killed 71-year-old Huntington Beach resident Cindy Zervos and injured her female passenger, police reported. Kinser allegedly was driving northbound on Pacific Coast Highway when his truck crossed a median and hit Wade and Zervos’ vehicles head on, according to police.
Zervos died at the scene Tuesday, the release stated. Wade was transported to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he was pronounced dead at 8:08 p.m., according to a coroner’s office report.
Kinser has been charged with two felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, one felony count of driving under the influence of both alcohol and drugs and another felony count of inflicting great bodily injury while driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit, court records say. Prosecutors also charged him with a felony enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury, which could increase the length of his sentence should he be found guilty.
Meanwhile, a shrine has been erected near the crash site where photos of Wade in uniform and street clothes are surrounded by flowers and prayer candles. The teen was thought to have been living in Newport Beach at the time of the crash, according to police, but the coroner’s office on Thursday could not confirm his city of residence.
Pacifica High School’s football team broke the news to the Mariners community in a Facebook post Thursday morning.
“It is with a heavy heart that we must post this but last night we lost Mitch Wade, Class of 2020 to a drunk driver,” the post read. “Rest In Peace Mitchell!”
A GoFundMe campaign set up Wednesday to help raise money for Wade’s memorial expenses had by Thursday night collected more than $20,000 from donors who paid their condolences and remembered Wade as a “positive guy” and “an amazing young man, on and off the field.”
On Sunday, from 1 to 5 p.m., friends and loved ones plan to hold a carwash outside of the Magic Mike’s Pizza in Westminster, 6152 Garden Grove Blvd., where they plan to also sell cookies, cake pops and candy to help raise funds for Wade’s family.
Huntington Beach police’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team is investigating the incident. Anyone who may have witnessed the events leading up to and including the collision is asked to call traffic investigator Doug Demetre at (714) 536-5670 or investigator Vishal Rattanchandani at (714) 536-5663.
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