Crowdfunding efforts seek to ease pain of holiday tragedies 

Law enforcement responded to a pedestrian vs. vehicle on near Sand Canyon and Sierra Highway on Thursday evening. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
Law enforcement responded to a pedestrian vs. vehicle on near Sand Canyon and Sierra Highway on Thursday evening. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
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A series of crowdfunding efforts have been set up to support the families of four people who died in three separate collisions around the holidays, according to a representative from the website hosting the online campaigns.  

A fatal commute 

The first tragedy happened Dec. 20, when John Sibthorp and Amber Wyatt died in a crash on their way to work. 

Alex White, a spokeswoman from GoFundMe, confirmed via email Thursday the website’s “Trust & Safety team” verified the effort’s legitimacy. 

“Amber’s twin sister created the fundraiser page to raise money for funeral expenses,” White wrote. 

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but a California Highway Patrol officer’s report indicated that Sibthorp, 35, was driving a 2018 Honda westbound on Highway 126, near Boosey Road, around 8:35 a.m., when the Honda veered into the eastbound lanes. It collided head-on with a 1999 Ford. The models of the vehicles were not identified in the preliminary report. 

The fatal Highway 126 collision took away Autumn Wyatt’s best friend, she wrote in a GoFundMe page dedicated to supporting the family. 

“Until Dec 20th, 2023, I had never been alone,” she wrote in a post also shared on social media. “We’d taken every step of life together, but now I’m on my own.” 

The couple were on their way to work, according to her post.  

Officer Jorge Alfaro from the Ventura office of the California Highway Patrol was not immediately available Thursday to discuss the details of the crash.  

The online fundraising effort can be found at bit.ly/3THfZ8x

Auto vs. pedestrian 

The second incident, which is part of a DUI investigation, involved Edward “Eddie” Meadows, a 43-year-old Canyon Country man struck and killed while crossing Sierra Highway the evening of Dec. 21. 

In that incident, driver Hector Castillo was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after Meadows was hit by Castillo’s 2006 Chevy Silverado pickup truck.  

According to the CHP report, the Silverado was traveling at approximately 50 mph at the time of the collision, which happened just south of Arline Street, not far from Sand Canyon Road.  

Meadows was struck around 5:30 p.m., according to the CHP, and despite medical treatment, he was declared dead at the scene around 6:10 p.m., according to officials. 

Castillo has been released per the Sheriff’s Department’s custody records. 

Meadows’ identity was released Thursday, and White said GoFundMe was working with organizers to verify the authenticity of an effort started that day. 

“Whether Eddie was known by his first name, last name, Son, Dad, Brother, Uncle or Friend … He will be greatly missed and remembered by all who knew him,” the post states. 

After initially being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, Castillo was released the following day, according to Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station arrest records. 

A spokeswoman for the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office said the office did not yet have any information regarding charges in the case. 

The website for the page to help the family is bit.ly/47fNbHx

Christmas Eve tragedy 

On the early morning hours of Christmas eve, tragedy struck a Long Beach family on Highway 14, south of Placerita Canyon Road. 

“I never imagined that I would need to start a GoFundMe page, and wished I didn’t have to, but here I am,” wrote Maria Carbajal, a Long Beach resident who organized the campaign to help the family with funeral expenses.  

“On Dec. 24 at around 1:35 a.m., we were informed that my brother had gotten into a fatal car crash,” she wrote, on a page dedicated to Emilio Carbajal Cruz. “My brother unfortunately lost his life instantly.” 

“The involved vehicle was identified as a 2010 Chevrolet coupe, which appeared to have veered from the main portion of the roadway and onto the right shoulder,” according to a preliminary report prepared by the CHP. “The Chevrolet crashed into a wood/metal guardrail, then a raised concrete barrier. As a result of this crash, the male right front passenger sustained fatal injuries and was partially ejected.”  

The name of the 26-year-old male driver in the single-car crash, who was being treated at the hospital for “major injuries” shortly after the incident, has not yet been released. CHP officers identified him as the suspect of a DUI investigation in their preliminary report. 

White reported that the page was verified by GoFundMe’s team to ensure the effort was set up by a family member.   

The website to help the family is available at bit.ly/3vo0ckR

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