EL CAJON, Calif. — The death of a Grossmont High School student over the weekend has family and friends speaking out about the dangers of street racing. One classmate told News 8 that Gady Cruz, 16, would race his 2018 Honda Civic and then post videos on Instagram.
“That night, I think he lost control racing and then he crashed,” said the classmate, who did not want his full name used.
Cruz died Saturday morning around 2 a.m. in a single-vehicle car crash at the intersection of Fletcher Parkway and Navajo Road. Three passengers in the car were taken to the hospital in serious condition, officials said.
El Cajon police said Cruz was not wearing a seatbelt while driving at a "high rate of speed on Navajo Road toward Fletcher Parkway," when he lost control, hit a curb and collided with a traffic light pole.
“He liked driving. In his videos you can see on Instagram, me and him were always racing around,” said the classmate.
An Instagram page under Cruz’s name has multiple videos of a Honda Civic racing on surface streets. The speedometer shows the vehicle going more than 100 miles per hour on freeways.
His classmate said Cruz would go out with his friends and drive fast.
“I wouldn't let him do that. When I'm in his car with him, I wouldn't let him drive that fast because I know he cannot control that car,” said the classmate.
News 8 spoke with Cruz's father, Arkal Almaarouf, at a candlelight vigil Sunday night.
“I miss him. I need him. I love him. He's my hero,” the father said.
Family friend, Elie Karam, had a message for other teenagers on the road. “I say to the youth to drive safely. Please consider that driving is not a tool for racing. It could be very dangerous. Please be careful and be ready because Jesus is coming soon,” said Karam.
A San Diego non-profit called Race Legal previously offered legal racing for drivers with safety protocols set up at the stadium in Mission Valley. Race Legal shut down in 2019 and the stadium currently is being redeveloped.
The police investigation has not revealed whether Cruz was racing with another vehicle or racing solo. The three passengers remain hospitalized.
Cruz’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral services, which are planned for Wednesday morning in El Cajon.
WATCH: Grossmont High senior killed, three passengers injured in El Cajon crash