San Marcos teen killed in DUI crash was 'talented, optimistic'

Best friend recalls moments after seeing accident
Posted at 11:41 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 22:20:34-05

SAN MARCOS, Calif. — Miguel Cruz described his best friend Isaias Santiago as optimistic, an artist and a person who could never say no to anyone.

"He was something special towards everybody. He was one of a kind," said Cruz, "I saw him as a little brother."

Cruz said he and Santiago spent a lot of time together, even helping him get a job as a busser where he works as a cook.

"I would always see him doing this crazy thing... singing, mopping, singing, mopping at the same time."

Cruz said, he last saw Santiago on Friday, when he went to pick up his check from work. He did not realize that would be the last time he would see him.

On Saturday evening, Cruz was driving on Los Vallecitos Boulevard, heading to the store.

On his way there, he said he saw a terrible accident. A car was flipped over.

"I hope he's okay. This person made it alive because it looked bad," he said.

Minutes later Cruz would get a call from his brother...

"Did you hear? Hear what? Isaias had an accident," recalled Cruz.

His brother, telling him the location of Santiago's accident.

Cruz said he was in total shock, realizing it was the crash he had just witnessed.

"It was just hard. We couldn't believe, we didn't want to believe," he said.

Sheriff's deputies said a 22-year-old man was driving under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana. He lost control of his car, it rolled over and crashed.

19-year-old Santiago was a passenger in the car. He died on impact after he being ejected.

Now, Cruz is trying to stay strong, remembering the good in his friend...

"He loved to draw, a lot," said Cruz, "at work, he was always drawing..."

Knowing that his friend had a strong impact on him and his family that won't ever be forgotten.

"He was one of a kind and nothing will replace that."

The driver is facing gross vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI charges.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Santiago's family with burial costs.