Car accident leaves Irvine grieving amidst recent accidents

Marie “Lizzie” Johnson, 16, was killed, and five others were injured in a car crash on the night of September 9, 2013.
The driver, 19 year-old Antonio Escamilla, is believed to have been drinking before the crash. Escamilla’s vehicle was following closely behind another vehicle; when that vehicle slowed down, Escamilla rapidly braked, lost control and swerved off to the side of the road. It is estimated that Escamilla was driving at around 70 mph.
Johnson was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. The other passengers were hospitalized and suffered minor injuries. Johnson had just returned from a trip to Hawaii the day before and was supposed to start school on Tuesday morning as a junior at Irvine High School. Escamilla had graduated from Irvine High the year before. He is charged with a felony DUI and felony vehicular manslaughter.
A vigil dedicated to Johnson was held at Irvine High School on Wednesday, September 11, 2013. Counselors are assisting those seeking emotional support.
Ian Hannigan, Public Information Officer of the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) said, “We want to provide a safe place for students where they can go and share their feelings and talk it out, and just be able to process some of these emotions.”
Shiva Verma (So.), an acquaintance of Johnson, said, “The accident was shocking. It was scary to me that someone my age, a normal teenager, is not around anymore. It really puts things into perspective. We should make the most of what we have. We will miss her dearly. R.I.P Lizzie Johnson.”
Written by Cathy Park