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Family of father who died in wrong-way I-5 crash grappling with loss

Posted at 10:01 PM, Feb 02, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The family of a 23-year-old man who was killed in a wrong-way crash in Chula Vista Saturday is grieving.

Brother, Army veteran, and new father David Ramirez was on his way home from work Saturday morning, according to his father Leopaldo Ramirez, but he never made it home.

Leopaldo said his son worked at the Five Guys restaurant in Hillcrest, normally from 4 p.m. to around midnight.

Leopaldo said goodbye to his son Friday around 3:30 p.m. and woke up Saturday not feeling well. While eating breakfast with the family he said he heard about a crash on southbound I-5 in Chula Vista on the news. He said that's the way his son drives home. He leapt to the window and saw David's car wasn't in the driveway.

RELATED: 2 dead in crash on I-5 in Chula Vista area

He and the family frantically searched, calling on friends, family and David's girlfriend hoping he was safe.

"I was calling highway patrol, the police department every 2-3 minutes,” Leopaldo said.

Finally, the hospital confirmed their fears.

"That was when all my hopes went into the trash ... That was the minute that I broke, my wife too, he's gone," Leopaldo said. "I wasn't there, that's what gets me the most. How long was he there? Was he asking for help?"

Leopaldo said his son had worked so hard to provide for his growing family. David's girlfriend delivered their baby Victoria in October. Ramirez said David was recently promoted to a manager position at work to earn more money for the family and he was studying criminal justice.

"I'm just sad I lost my older brother, the one I looked up to," David’s 14-year-old sister, Monica, said through tears.

The family is heartbroken to lose their loving David, waiting to hear more from investigators to learn why this happened.

They will be hosting a candlelight vigil Feb. 4 at 5:30 p.m. at the pull-up bars near the Imperial Beach Pier.

The family set up a GoFundMe account for his funeral expenses.