A teen missed a trip in which five of his friends were killed in a fiery car crash, missing a three-way date that saved his life.
Tamer Mosallam was supposed to be picked up on Memorial Day for a trip to the beach with a group of friends in Orange County, California. But the 17-year-old Mosallam’s father would not let him go, leaving the five friends to make the trip without him.
It was a change of plans that saved his life. After the teen missed the trip, his friends were killed when their car crashed, splitting into two and catching on fire. Mosallam, who lost two of his closest friends in the crash, was still shaken over the tragedy.
“I was supposed to be with them in the car, that’s why there were three girls,” Mosallam said, explaining that he was to have been the third boy for a three-way double date. “They came to my house but my dad wouldn’t let me go out because I was studying for a test.”
Those killed in the crash were the 17-year-old driver, Abdulrahman Alyahyan, as well as two 17-year-old passengers, Cecilia Zamora and Nozad Al Hamawendi. Two sisters, 17-year-old Robin Cabrera and 16-year-old Aurora Cabrera, were also killed.
Police are working to determine the exact case of the single-car crash, which took place on a busy six-lane surface street.
Investigators believe Alyahyan’s Nissan Infiniti had been heading south on Jamboree Road toward the Pacific Coast Highway when it veered off the road and into the center divider and tore in two, then burst into flames.
The crash left four people ejected and the fifth partially ejected. Four of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, while the other died at Mission Viejo hospital.
Authorities said the crash was the worst they had ever seen, and some of the bodies were so mangled that the coroner had to use fingerprints to identify them.
“There are simply no words to convey the sorrow felt by our students and staff, nor are there sufficient answers to explain the loss of five vibrant teenagers from our schools and this community,” Irvine Unified School District Superintendent Terry Walker said in a statement.
The teen who missed the trip where his friend were killed is part of a group of about 10 close friends who were either first- or second-generation immigrants from Middle Eastern countries. They spoke Arabic together and hung out constantly, another one of the group said.