A 14-year-old girl who was gravely injured when a drunken driver slammed into the car she was riding in remains on life support today while the family arranges to have her organs donated, according to family friends.
Reports of Ashton Sweet's death drew friends to a vigil in her honor Sunday night at the intersection of Culver Drive and Irvine Boulevard, where the accident occurred, according to The Orange County Register.
However, friends said she remains on life support, although her stepfather posted a note on Facebook saying the Northwood High School ninth-grader was brain-dead, which led to her friends gathering for the vigil.
"Her father said she was going to be kept on life support so her organs could be donated," her friend Sarah Libben, 14, told the Register.
Sweet was one of four teenagers injured in the collision at 1:15 a.m. Sunday when the late model Mercedes-Benz she was riding in was hit by a suspected drunken driver in a late model Toyota pickup, Irvine police said.
The 48-year-old driver of the Mercedes, identified as Mike Ghaemi, and two teenaged girls ages 14 and 15 – were treated at a local hospital and released. The fourth girl, identified by friends as Krista Merassa, 15, remains hospitalized in critical condition, but is expected to survive.
Ghaemi and all of the Mercedes passengers are from Irvine and reportedly heading home from a birthday party.
Austin Farley, 26, of Irvine was arrested shortly after the accident and booked at the Orange County Jail on suspicion of felony drunken driving. His bail was set at $100,000.
Farley has several incidents on his record, including pleading guilty in 2009 to driving under the influence and pleading guilty in 2006 to driving with a suspended license and refusing to submit to a test for driving under the influence, the Register reported, citing the Orange County Superior Courts Website.
Two occupants in the pickup truck were not injured.
Irvine police spent most of Sunday at the scene, trying to reconstruct the accident, said Irvine police Lt. Henry Boggs.
Friends at Sunday night's vigil remembered Sweet as a good friend and caring person.
"She always lived her life to the fullest," 15-year-old Olivia Dadgar told the Register. "She was spontaneous. If I said `Let's go see a movie at 11 p.m.,' she was up for it. Her style was Bohemian. She had feather extensions, wore big sweaters and leggings. She had really long, dirty blonde hair and never let it get cut."
Other friends said she was a cheerleader, ran track and worked with special needs children as part of a school club known as the Wolfpack.
A celebration of Sweet's life is planned for Tuesday at Northwood. Participants have been asked to wear white.
Anyone who witnessed the crash was urged to call Irvine police Sgt. Dennis Maisano at (949) 724-7023.