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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Hacienda Heights : Help for Crash Victims

July 08, 1993

Susie Trovato's 16-year-old son had intended to be with his seven friends the day they died.

His friends had piled into the back of a friend's pickup and headed for the beach. But Trovato held back her son, Mitch.

"He didn't mow the lawn, so I didn't let him go, thank the Lord," said Trovato, a 46-year-old Hacienda Heights resident.

The seven friends, members of a San Gabriel Valley tagging crew, were killed in a traffic accident early Friday. The youths, ranging in age from 14 to 20, were riding in the open bed of a pickup truck when it was struck by a suspected drunk driver on the Long Beach Freeway (710). The pickup driver and a 16-year-old girl next to him survived.

Trovato is organizing fund-raisers for families of the victims. Some families cannot afford funeral expenses and are working out financing arrangements with mortuaries or taking out loans, she said.

More than 80 calls have poured in from as far away as Alaska since TV stations broadcast Trovato's telephone number, she said.

Trovato said she is surprised at the response: Churches are organizing bake sales, friends of the victims are having car washes, and people are donating furniture.

Volunteers have raised about $3,000 so far. They hope to make enough to cover funeral expenses for each family, about $7,000 apiece.

Donations can be made care of Fidelity Federal Bank, Friends of the Seven, 1400 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia 91007-79231.

Information: (818) 336-0944.

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