Eighteen-year-old Ricardo De Santiago died on Monday afternoon in a car crash on Highway 1 that officials believe involved driving under the influence.
Mr. De Santiago, a Marshall resident and graduate of Tomales High School, was the passenger in a car driven by Lucas McFadden, a 23-year-old Petaluma resident. Both worked at the Marshall Store and were leaving work and travelling south when the car swerved into the opposite lane near the Miwok cemetery, headlong into a dump truck driven by Kevin Furlong, a 54-year-old of Tomales.
California Highway Patrol officers believe the car drifted right and off the road as it entered a left curve and that Mr. McFadden, to compensate, swerved sharply left and into the oncoming truck.
Mr. McFadden suffered major injuries and continues to receive medical treatment at a trauma center, where he was placed under arrest for driving under the influence after showing signs of
Mr. Furlong, who was towing a small excavator on the Peterbilt dump truck-trailer combination, was uninjured and not intoxicated.
Mr. De Santiago, the son of Elvira Xaxni and Juan De Santiago, was pronounced dead on the scene, shortly after 5 p.m., by first responders.
At Tomales High and, before that, Tomales Elementary School, the young athlete played soccer, tennis and basketball and was known for his genial attitude. On his Facebook profile he listed his occupation as a shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers.
“He’d play one-on-one basketball every opportunity he’d get, either during lunch or break,” Dominic Sacheli, a teacher of Mr. De Santiago’s at Tomales, said. “The kid just had the type of personality you couldn’t get angry with. He’d throw a broad, ear-to-ear grin at you. If you tried to get on him in class, he’d flash that smile and it was impossible to get mad at him. He was a kid I could relate to and a nice kid to have around.”
A GoFundMe campaign to raise money for funeral expenses and other unforseen costs brought upon his family, which includes four siblings, had raised more than $24,000 by press time. Search “Ricardo De Santiago Memorial Fund” at gofundme.com to contribute.