The brother of 17-year-old Kayla Payan said Tuesday that while the family is devastated over the death of their sister and daughter, they wanted to express they do not blame nor hate Payan’s friends who were involved with the fatal car crash on Sunday.
“Right now, we’re obviously devastated, especially my mother, with my sister passing away,” said Andrew Aguilera, 22, Payan’s brother who last month returned to his family after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Marines as an E-4 corporal. “But I think the most important thing for us is that we don’t have any hate towards the driver or any one of her friends.”
“Those were her best friends, and it was teens doing dumb stuff,” said Aguilera, adding that he would think it “hypocritical” of himself to “hate or judge” his sister’s friends for making a mistake.
On Tuesday, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station investigators confirmed they had impounded two vehicles involved in the collision, checking to see if the cars carrying Payan and five of her friends could have been engaged in street racing or traveling at high speeds. They also confirmed they were waiting on a toxicology report for Payan’s driver, a 17-year-old girl believed to have been at the wheel when the car crashed on the 28400 block of Sloan Canyon Road.
Aguilera said his sister always led the charge on showing grace to others, describing the 17-year-old aspiring filmmaker as unflinchingly loyal and caring toward her family and friends.
“She was very caring and very goofy; she always cared about her friends, especially those involved in the crash,” said Aguilera. “If any one of us were ever [feeling] down, or my mom was feeling down, or anybody really, she would always come up to you and say, ‘Are you OK?’”
“She would never hesitate because she always cared for (us) and her friends dearly,” her brother added.
Payan had moved with her family to Castaic, and attended Northlake Elementary School, followed by Castaic Middle School, then having split time between Valencia High School and Opportunities for Learning. Aguilera said his sister, a member of the Class of 2022, planned to transfer and finish her senior year at Valencia High School.
“She was very outgoing and she was kind of interested in, or trying to do, film,” said Aguilera. “She was more like a little hippie.”
In an effort to assist their mother, Ana Medrano, with the funeral costs, Aguilera and his middle sister Lisette have organized a GoFundMe page in honor of Payan. For more information on how to donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-loving-memory-of-kayla-payan.