Santa Clarita is grappling with the loss of another young man this week as friends and family mourn the death of Hart High grad Conor Keely.
The 20-year-old died as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash near Gorman, about 45 minutes north of Santa Clarita city limits.
Shortly after 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, Keely was traveling eastbound on Highway 138, just west of 300th Street West in unincorporated Los Angeles County, according to Sgt. Zachary Emmons of the California Highway Patrol’s Newhall office.
For some unknown reason, Keely’s blue Subaru WRX veered into southbound lanes and struck a power pole, Emmons said.
Los Angeles County Fire Department crews worked for about 30 minutes to free the man from his car.
Keely, still conscious and talking, was airlifted to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.
Remembered as the life of the party and a man who would go out of his way to talk to strangers personally and make them laugh, Keely succumbed to his injuries a few hours later.
“Conor would light up a room when he walked in and made people want to be happier,” friend Kacey Dawson said.
An avid team mountain biker, Keely graduated from Hart High School in 2015. Many of his friends and family joined to honor his memory during a candlelight vigil at Summit Park in Valencia.
Huddled under the warm orange glow of flickering candles, the group recognized the man they called a buddy, a friend and a personal hero.
Dawson recalled a spontaneous trip to Huntington Beach she took with Keely and her boyfriend Jonah last August.
“We laughed and talked about future concerts we were going to go to,” she said. “We took some amazing pictures together that I will cherish forever.”
Dawson revealed a playful side to her close friend.
“Conor was cracking jokes all day and of course trying to find a hot girl on the beach. It was the absolute perfect weekend,” she said.
A scholarship fund was set up in his honor, Dawson said.