The mother and sister of the boy killed the day after his 11th birthday in a violent crash are out of the hospital, but are too devastated to try and make the drive home to San Bernardino County without him right now.
Leah Campbell Sanchez and her daughter Peyton Lemelle, 13, both have visible injuries from the violent rollover crash that happened Sunday about 9:30 p.m. on the 15 just north of Escondido.
“I am in pain,” Leah told 10News, sitting in her aunt’s apartment in downtown San Diego.
Peyton sat on the couch with road rash on her forehead, chatting with friends on Facebook.
But the physical injuries are nothing compared to the heartbreak.
"I’d rather have died than him. I wish that it was me instead of him,” Leah said through tears.
Leah, her daughter, the children’s step-father, her son, Stephen Lemelle and his friend spent the weekend celebrating Stephen’s 11th birthday at SeaWorld.
“For his birthday we went to SeaWorld and we got him an X-Box One, because that’s what he wanted,” Leah said.
It was a dream trip for the family from San Bernardino County.
“I rode roller coasters and looked at the dolphins,” Peyton said.
They spent two days at SeaWorld, sleeping overnight at a hotel.
Sunday night, they drove home.
“I just remember waiting for him at the gas station to come out of the bathroom. That’s all I remember,” Leah said through tears.
They were on the road for 45 minutes, heading north on I-15 past Escondido, when an 18-year-old, speeding in a Dodge Charger, police said, hit the family’s Trailblazer.
It rolled violently. Stephen died at the scene.
The CHP said they are still investigating the crash and the driver of the other car is being cooperative.
The teen who hit them was not drinking or using drugs, the CHP said.
“I’m ok they say, but I don’t think I’m ok,” Leah said.
She said she is still in shock.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe account to help the Sanchez family.