Gustavo Beltran, a student at Poway High School, was one of two teens killed in the accident, which also left three injured.
The crash occurred at about 3:15 a.m. on the off-ramp from southbound state Route 163 to westbound Interstate 8, according to California Highway Patrol. The vehicle the teens were in, a 2008 BMW, veered off the freeway off-ramp and caught fire.
All five boys involved in the accident were friends and ranged in age from 15 to 19, according to Officer Salvador Castro of the CHP. The other boy killed in the accident, whose name has not been released, was also 15 years old.
The driver and two other teens were able to escape the burning vehicle, but two boys were trapped in the back seat, Castro said. Their bodies were found after firefighters put out the flames.
The 17-year-old driver, whose name has not been released, was arrested at a hospital on suspicion of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, according to Castro. He will be charged as an adult.
Beltran’s sister, Lupita Beltran, has started a GoFundMe account to raise $15,000 for funeral expenses and to help her parents. As of press time, over $10,000 had been raised. The fundraiser can be found at tinyurl.com/beltranfundraiser.
“As many of you may know Gustavo Beltran was taken from our family unexpectedly on January 18, 2020 in a car accident,” Beltran wrote on the fundraising page. “He was only 15 years old. Our home will never be the same. We will always miss him and have him in our hearts forever. Many of you may know him as ‘Guero’ and know he was a wonderful boy/loving son, brother, and friend.”
Oak Knoll Market and Deli, at 12455 Poway Road, is also raising funds for the family through a donation box inside the store. Owner Vinny Ganda said he has known the family for a long time and wanted to help in whatever way he could.
City News Service contributed to this report.