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HesperiaStar.com
  • RAMP TRAGEDY

    Hundreds turn out for vigil at Serrano High School

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  • PHELAN — A shocked and silent crowd of hundreds gathered in the parking lot of Serrano High School on Wednesday evening to mourn two teenagers killed late Tuesday night in a crash in the Cajon Pass.
    Friends, classmates, family and community members cried, screamed out and consoled each other as others led the group in prayer or spoke kind words about Nicole Lyle, 18, and John Cabrera Jr., 16.
    “They wouldn’t want us to remember the crash, they’d want us to remember the good times: Nicole laughing and smiling all the time and John being the little goofball he always was,” Kaytlyn Bommarito told the crowd at the vigil she organized.
    Three other local residents were injured in the crash: David Castaneda, Mikey Baker and Shane Gretzner. Snowline Unified School District Superintendent Luke Ontiveros said all of the five were Serrano High School students at one time or another.
    “I’ve never seen anything like this for a spontaneous event,” Ontiveros said. “It speaks to the tight-knit nature of our community. We take care of each others’ kids, and that’s the most important thing.”
    Most of the evening was spent in silence. Besides the music in the background, the only sounds were the muffled sobs and distraught wails of mourners. As “Amazing Grace” played in the background, one mourner yelled out, “I miss you John. I miss your smile already, I love you.”
    John’s motorcycle was the centerpiece of the vigil. Parked on the sidewalk and covered in well-wishing, handwritten messages, flowers and photos, the bike was a makeshift altar for the outpouring of support and love the community provided.
    Ontiveros said the front gate of the school would become a memorial for the teens and invited everyone to pay their respects by tying ribbons or balloons to the fence.
    Among the mementos being added to the fence were five posters with a photo of each individual for the community to write words of encouragement for the injured, or share love for or thoughts and memories of the dead.
    “When one of us hurts, we all hurt,” Bommarito said. “These two were very loved and respected in this community. It almost doesn’t feel real. We’re going to light up the school tonight so they can watch from heaven.”
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