Whittier family mourning 18-year-old son struck, killed by alleged drunk driver

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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A heartbroken Whittier family is mourning the tragic death of their 18-year-old son, who was killed when he went to pick up his girlfriend for Black Friday shopping and was struck by an alleged drunk driver.

WHITTIER, Calif. (KABC) -- A heartbroken Whittier family is mourning the tragic death of their 18-year-old son, who went to pick up his girlfriend for Black Friday shopping and was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver.

The car crash happened around 5:32 a.m. last Friday near Colima and Lambert roads, according to the California Highway Patrol. Garrett Hayward, 18, had left his Whittier home to pick up his girlfriend to go shopping.

CHP said Hayward had the green light and entered the intersection when he was struck by Darrell Jewett, 34. The crash caused Hayward's vehicle to become engulfed in flames.

CHP said Jewett ran from the scene, but was later arrested and booked on suspicion of driving under the influence, vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run causing serious injury or death.

Joanne and Damon Hayward are now dealing with the unimaginable loss of their son.

"I can't believe he went in such a horrible way ... the car exploded and it burned," said an emotional Joanne.

"We knew he was gonna go out shopping, Christmas shopping, but didn't realize he was gonna leave at 5:30 in the morning," Damon said.

"The last image I saw of him was like a shadow and then he left and then just minutes later, right by the house, he perished," Joanne said as she gripped a religious visor clip that was in his car.

"This is the only thing that came out and it's not even burnt. There's no remnants of burn marks or anything. It's like in perfect condition, unlike what my son was left in," Joanne said while trying to hold back tears.

While there's a ton of grief, there's also anger for the other driver who was arrested that morning.

"He was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. He's been arrested several times in other counties," Joanne said.

Records show the suspect has seven previous arrests.

"There's no reason why someone who cannot contribute to society and has a rap sheet that long has the freedom to be free and cause more havoc and grief for other people," Damon said.

In the meantime, the family tries to hold onto their memories of Garrett, who was a first-year student at Cal State Channel Islands.

"He was in marching band for two years in high school, he was in jazz for four. He loved music," Joanne said.

His impact is obvious by all the love shown on a GoFundMe account made for his family.

"It just shows us how much he was loved and we really, really appreciate it," Joanne said.