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2 teens killed in crash near SeaWorld identified

Posted at 10:47 AM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 17:16:55-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Authorities Friday identified two teens killed earlier this week in a crash near SeaWorld San Diego.

San Diego police said the deadly crash happened on April 21, at around 9:30 p.m., in the 500 block of Sea World Drive in Mission Bay.

According to police, 18-year-old Kulten Sargent was driving a pickup truck on the westbound side of Sea World Drive when he reportedly lost control of the vehicle and struck what was described as a large metal sign post.

Emergency responders pulled Sargent and an 18-year-old female passenger, identified as Ava Bender, from the wreckage.

Despite life-saving measures, both teens were pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

The SDPD Traffic Division is investigating the incident.

Riley Burke, a friend of the driver, said Sargent was a recent graduate of Montecito High in Ramona.

"Just very funny and caring, and he was always there if you needed him. If you had a bad day, he'd be there to talk to you ... This just doesn't seem real. I feel like I'm going to wake up from a dream," said Burke.

Darrell Smith said he hired Sargent, a family friend, to do work around the house.

"Did landscaping work and other work. He was working to build his own business," said Smith.

Both Smith and Burke said the details of the crash were surprising because the teen was known as a safe driver.

"I trusted him with my vehicles. He's always been a slow, cautious driver," said Smith.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Sargent's family with expenses.