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OJAI : Friends Keep Alive Memory of Youth

Ventura County News Roundup

June 18, 1991|JANE HULSE

Randall Hayes died a year ago in a motorcycle accident near Ojai, but his friends are keeping his memory alive.

The day after his death they erected a cross near the scene of the accident, and a year later they continue to leave bits of memorabilia by the cross.

"Every time I go out there, there are new things left," said his mother, Alaire Hayes of Ojai.

"There are always flowers, jewelry, shells, guitar picks, poems and letters."

Randall Hayes was 17 on May 17, 1990, when the motorcycle he was a passenger on collided with a car on a curve along North Creek Road.

He died of head injuries the next day.

More than 500 people attended his funeral service, his mother said.

Many were from Nordhoff High School in Ojai and Gateway Community School in Camarillo, where he had attended school.

Her son was always there when people needed him, Hayes said.

He was a champion of the underdog and helped straighten out some kids who had become involved with drugs, his mother said.

"He was his own individual--he didn't follow trends," she said.

Only 5 feet, 4 inches and 120 pounds, he often wore a leather jacket, a wide red bandanna, bracelets up his arm, rings and necklaces. He played the bass guitar.

"He was wild," Hayes said. In fact, his death has generated almost a James Dean cult following, she said.

Some of his friends have taken to wearing leather jackets with inscriptions in his memory, a Nordhoff School administrator said.

Last Feb. 9, on what would have been his 18th birthday, about 30 friends and relatives gathered in his memory.

On the anniversary of his death last month, 40 to 50 people went to the cross for a similar commemoration.

The cross, erected by Brady Sabat and Brian Culbertson, is covered with names of his friends. At the foot is a small circle of stones and flowers, along with a small basket holding pens, pencils, cigarettes, matches and a religious picture. Hanging from the cross are a small macrame bag containing stones and a wishbone. Two plastic angels hang down, as well as a bandanna with an earring attached. On top of the cross sits a seashell containing a small candle.

Hayes said the family is comforted by the attention to her son's memory. She and her husband, Randy, have two other sons.

"After the hubbub, I could have been left to my misery," she said.

But the memorabilia left at the cross and their son's friends who continue to drop by have eased the pain, she said.

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