Sapling planted in memory of teen

A tree was planted this week to memorialize a 14-year-old cheerleader killed in a Memorial Day weekend car crash, the girl's stepfather said.

The sapling was planted on a corner at the intersection of Culver Drive and Irvine Boulevard in Irvine, where Ashton Sweet died following a May 29 crash that also sent four others to the hospital.

Thursday marked the four-month anniversary of Sweet's death, and her stepfather, David Pidcock, said the family visited the intersection and placed candles for his stepdaughter to commemorate the day.

Pidcock said the city was helpful in reaching out to the family to find a tree befitting the permanent memorial.

"The city was really nice," Pidcock said. "They spent some time with an arborist with a selection of trees we could choose from."

Sweet's mother, Elizabeth Sweet, worked with the city in picking out a tree. Friends and family helped plant the sapling.

The family has not decided on a plaque yet, although some residents expressed concern that public funds would be used.

"We're paying for that completely, so no one has to worry about that," Pidcock said.

The legal case surrounding the crash is continuing.

Austin Jeffrey Farley, 26, was arrested in connection with Sweet's death. He was charged with murder, driving under the influence of alcohol and is facing a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily harm.

He is expected to be in court at the Harbor Justice Center's room H-1 for a preliminary hearing next Thursday.

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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