Victims in deadly crash identified as current, former students of Maranatha High School

Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Victims in deadly Tesla crash in Pasadena identified
Several victims of a deadly car crash in Pasadena over the weekend have ties to Maranatha High School, leaving many at the campus in mourning.

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- Several victims of a deadly car crash in Pasadena over the weekend have ties to Maranatha High School, leaving many at the campus in mourning as officials try to determine what caused the collision.

Three people were killed and three others were severely injured in the single-vehicle crash early Saturday morning near the intersection of Sierra Madre and Foothill boulevards.

According to the Pasadena Police Department, a 2018 Tesla Model 3 with six occupants ran through a red light at Sierra Madre while traveling over 100 mph. The car hit a curb and flew off the roadway, crashing through a streetlight and launching in the air into a power pole, then barreling into a vacant building.

The driver and two male passengers were killed and three other passengers were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

Three passengers were not wearing seatbelts, police said, and were ejected from the vehicle in the crash.

Three people were killed and three others hospitalized after a car slammed into an unoccupied building in Pasadena, authorities said.

Three of those people in the car attended Maranatha High School at one point.

"Our two current students are in the process of being healed, we hope. And one of our former students did not make it," said Head of School John Rouse.

One of the victims who died has been identified as Stefan Michael Pfeiffer, an Eagle Scout. The 20-year-old was a student at Pasadena City College.

Co-workers say Esrom Fessemaye and the driver, Moheb Samuel, 22, of Pasadena, were also killed.

Samuel's younger sister was seriously injured, along with another man and woman. The ages of those involved in the crash range from 17 to 22 years old.

Rear passengers Emerson Newquist, 20, of Pasadena, and Bella Ramirez, 18, of Monrovia, were transported to the hospital and described as being in stable condition.

Sources tell Eyewitness News that Moheb Samuel was arrested on a DUI last year in Pasadena, and had his license suspended. Booking records indicate CHP officers arrested Samuel at 3:14 a.m. on Sept. 23, 2023. He was issued a misdemeanor citation and released.

Investigators say the cause of the deadly crash is still under investigation and that they're looking into all possible leads.

"There was evidence that alcohol was in the car. However, we are unable to determine at this time if the driver was impaired or under the influence," said Lt. Anthony Russo.

In the aftermath of the crash, Senior Ditch Day was canceled and 15 counselors and professionals were at the school Monday to help students with the grieving process.

"We're going to spend our time this morning praying with them and encouraging them. Again, no one can know what our students are feeling. We are here just to empathize with them, to listen to them," Rouse added.

GoFundMe accounts launched

Several GoFundMe pages have been established to help the families and the surviving victims.

For all those killed and injured in the crash.

For Bella Ramirez, a Maranatha student who was hospitalized after the crash.

For the family of Stefan Michael Pfeiffer, who was killed in the crash.

For the family of Esrom Fessemaye, who was killed in the crash.

For Emerson Newquist, who was injured in the crash.