'So many people loved her'

Heather Stamm's sister Kelsey was supposed to meet her at 8:30 p.m. on Main Street Monday night.

When Heather didn't show, she called her sister's cellphone, but there was no answer. Kelsey called her parents to pick her up, and they did.

When the Stamms turned north onto Pacific Coast Highway, they saw police lights a few blocks down.

"It didn't cross our minds that it was Heather," Chris Stamm said.

The Stamms pulled up to the accident scene to see if maybe Heather was there as an onlooker. They asked police what happened.

Heather, 16, and her boyfriend, Nathan Koontz, 19, had been hit by a pick-up truck while crossing PCH at 6th Street.

The Huntington Beach girl had left her identification in the car, so the family asked police if one of the victims was Nathan Koontz.

"It's something you're talking yourself out of," Stacy Stamm said. "And then I saw her shoes [on the ground]."

Then they knew. Heather died.

Koontz, of Fountain Valley, was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange where he was treated for multiple injuries.

A man who identified himself as Nathan Koontz's father said Tuesday his son was conscious but suffered a head injury.

Jerry Koontz waited with his son in intensive care Tuesday afternoon at the UCI Medical Center before Nathan went in for surgery.

He's got a broken arm, a large gash on the head, both ankles are sprained, "but nothing too serious, thank God," Jerry Koontz said.

Jerry Koontz was more worried how his son would cope with Heather's death.

"He loved her," Jerry Koontz said. "That was the love of his life. They were best friends, completed each other's sentences. They matched."

Unable to express how sorry he was for Heather's family, Koontz cried for the girl who meant so much to his son.

Heather Stamm had one of those smiles that made memories for her friends and loved ones.

Greg Goran, her world history class teacher last year, said it would even pop up at the oddest moments.

"She always did it with a smile, even when I busted her for something she shouldn't be doing," Goran recalled Tuesday as he tried to make sense of Monday's accident.Goran sat with Heather's close friend, Lauren Phillips, after school Tuesday to reminisce about her.

Before class Tuesday morning at Huntington Beach High School, Goran was handed a memo telling him about Heather's death.

"I almost didn't read it," Goran said. "When I did read it and then saw her name, it just gave me the creeps. At first I was in denial."

Heather's friends said she was quiet until you got to know her.

She wanted to be an actress and had a great affinity for vintage Hollywood. Her room was decorated with images of movie icons like James Cagney and her favorite, Marilyn Monroe. But more than anything she loved her family, her boyfriend Nathan and her dog, Taco.

"When we would talk, it was usually about life, our families and [Nathan]," Lauren said.

Details of the accident were scarce as investigators were continuing to piece together what happened.

Christopher Hulett, 27, of Newport Beach, was westbound on PCH when he struck the two teenagers as they were walking north across PCH at 6th Street, Lt. Dave Bunetta said.

"We are still investigating to see if there were any other witnesses," Bunetta said. No charges have been filed against Hulett pending an investigation.

Anyone with information about the accident is asked to call Investigator Bob Barr at the Huntington Beach Police Department Traffic Bureau at (714) 536-5666.

A large sign covered in signatures from Heather's schoolmates has been taped to a fence at the intersection where she and Koontz were struck.

Holly Barish, Cheyenne Browning, Roya Shahnazari and Rae Druiff-Fick visited the sign to honor their friend, whom they had known since grade school.

"No one believed it, Cheyenne said. "Not until the announcements made at school."

A memorial was held at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the intersection. About 200 people attended.

"So many people loved her," Stacy Stamm said.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
73°