Newport man donates $10K to Crystal Morales fund

A Newport Beach resident has donated $10,000 to help cover the medical costs of a severely injured high school student and pledged to match another $10,000 in donations from the community.

David Pyle made the contribution to the Bank of America account set up for 17-year-old Crystal Morales, the bank confirmed.

Pyle, 55, owns American Career College and West Coast University, has two kids who attend Newport Harbor High School with Morales, and has two others who have graduated from there.

He said he was moved when he heard Morales' classmates had set up a fund to help her family after the Dec. 6 crash and wanted to help.

"Wrong place, wrong time," Pyle said of the crash, pausing with emotion.

He thought of his own kids who have gone through the high school and those who still do.

"Who knows how many times they've walked across that crosswalk," he said.

Police said Morales was hit by driver suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while walking across Irvine Avenue after school.

She suffered serious brain and internal injuries and was placed in a medically induced coma at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana.

Morales' classmates said last week that she was showing positive signs of recovery, but remained in critical condition.

Morales' classmates have been setting up in front of grocery stores and restaurants in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach collecting donations.

In addition to Pyle's contribution, the public has contributed about $5,300, said Alexandra Holbrook, 17, a Harbor senior who is working on gathering donations.

"I just kind of set out to do this because I thought it would be good for the community because this doesn't deserve to happen to anyone," Alexandra said. "I'm so happy it's turned out as good as it has."

Alexandra said she and her classmates are taking a break from fundraising to spend time with their families for the holidays, but will go out into the community again after Christmas.

Donations to the Help Crystal Fund can be made to Bank of America account No. 0451825769.

Marnie Lippincott, 38, of Costa Mesa is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causing serious brain injury related to the crash.

She pleaded not guilty Wednesday and is due back in court in February for a pre-trial hearing. Lippincott faces up to eight years in prison if convicted.

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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