Westlake High, family mourn teenager fatally struck in crash after driver's alleged crime spree

Thursday, April 20, 2023
Family mourns teen boy fatally struck in Thousand Oaks crash
A heartbroken family are mourning 15-year-old Wesley Welling, who died after he struck by a driver accused of going on a daylong crime spree.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (KABC) -- A 15-year-old boy has been publicly identified after being struck and killed in a rollover crash near Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, involving a driver suspected in a daylong crime spree that included a stabbing.

Wesley Welling "was a wonderful son, brother, friend. Who touched the lives of those around him," a statement on the fundraiser website GoFundme.com said.

Three of Welling's fellow students were injured in the collision Tuesday afternoon, and investigators believe the driver may have intentionally struck the victims.

A makeshift memorial, comprised of flowers and candles, was created in honor of Welling at the crash site. Students stopped and paid their respects on their way to class Wednesday morning. Nearby, a bus stop shelter was undergoing repairs after being damaged in the violent crash.

The victim's family was in tears as they went to the scene of the crash. Kelly Welling, Wesley's mother, found out about her son's death from her daughter who was just a short distance away from the crash. The crash happened on the mother's birthday.

RELATED: Westlake High School mourns teen fatally struck in crash near campus

A 15-year-old boy has been identified after being struck and killed in a crash crash near Westlake High School, involving a driver suspected in a crime spree that included a stabbing.

"I get the call from my daughter Hannah. There was an accident and he was unconscious and they were doing CPR and they did CPR the whole way to the hospital," Kelly Welling said. "That is where he passed. By some miracle my daughter wasn't standing right next to him because it could have been both of them."

Wesley's sister Hannah said she heard a skidding car and everything happened fast.

Welling shared the last conversation she had with her son before he left for school.

"I said I'm proud of you, I love you, have a good day, and that was the last thing I said to him," she recalled.

Olivia Ludwig's friend, who remained hospitalized, was among the three surviving victims.

"Her femur is broken and she had surgery last night to repair it," Ludwig told ABC7. "She's up now, and she's OK, but there's a chance that she's going to be in a wheelchair for eight weeks.

"She has so much, so much going for her, and I'm just really upset to have to see that all go down the drain because of this."

The suspect in the crash was identified as Austin Eis. Authorities said the 24-year-old began a crime spree 13 miles from where the crash occurred. Eis, a former Westlake High student, allegedly stabbed an employee at a Walmart store in Simi Valley. Eis then made his way to his parents' home in Camarillo, where an argument led to police being summoned.

That incident was followed by the collision in Thousand Oaks.

Eis remained in custody Wednesday, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. He is expected to be arraigned on multiple charges Thursday. His bail has been set at $5 million.

"I felt like I've been able to be kept in this bubble for so long," Ludwig said. "And just seeing how easily one person's bad intentions can injure and hurt so many families, and so many people, really breaks my heart."

RELATED: Teen dies after stabbing suspect slams into students in Thousand Oaks

A 15-year-old boy was killed after a stabbing suspect slammed into a group of Westlake High School students in Thousand Oaks, and police believe it may have been intentional.

Thousand Oaks Police Chief Jeremy Paris said he and his department's officers "know the people here in the community, we all have connections, and it's very difficult.

"The officers that are on scene, you know, it's very, very difficult for them."

Ludwig said she was among the students who believed Wednesday's classes should have been cancelled.

"I think it's inconsiderate to the mental health and stability of the students on our campus," she said.

As of Wednesday morning, the online fundraiser in honor of Welling had garnered more than $118,000 in less than 24 hours.

A vigil was scheduled in the evening at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village.