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Candidate's Son Killed in Car Accident

The Camarillo boy, whose father, Howard Gershater, is seeking the governor's post, died Saturday after being ejected from an SUV.

August 11, 2003|Holly J. Wolcott | Times Staff Writer

A 16-year-old Camarillo boy killed Saturday in a car accident was the son of local gubernatorial candidate Howard Allen Gershater.

David Martin Gershater died at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks shortly after the crash, which occurred about 7:30 a.m. on a curvy section of Upland Road near Mission Oaks Boulevard in Camarillo, authorities said.

The boy's 16-year-old friend, who was driving his parents' Chevy Suburban, was taking home six teenagers who had slept at a friend's house in Camarillo after a party Friday night, Howard Gershater said in an interview Sunday.

The driver was unfamiliar with the road and failed to negotiate a curve while speeding west on Upland Road, authorities said. After overcorrecting on the curve, the Suburban rolled across the roadway.

David Gershater, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected through the vehicle's rear window. The Suburban rolled over the boy, the victim's father said. Two others suffered minor injuries.

Drugs and alcohol were not a factor, and the driver is not expected to face criminal charges, authorities said.

The upset driver has remained in his bedroom since the crash, Gershater said. But the driver's mother visited with the Gershater family to pay her respects.

David Gershater was a junior at St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura, where he was a straight-A student, soccer team goalie and a standout golfer. He was considering attending Stanford University, his father said.

"It sounds cliche, but he really was a very bright boy and always up -- that's what his friends said too -- always in a good mood, a very positive individual," said Gershater, one of 158 candidates vying for governor.

In addition to soccer and golf, Gershater said his son was active in city league baseball and helped his team win the league championship last season.

"He was one of the guys on the team who was an inspiration," Gershater said, adding that he was wearing his son's baseball shirt.

Funeral services, scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday at Conejo Mountain Funeral Home in Camarillo, will be open to the public.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Boys & Girls Club of Camarillo.

At noon today at his campaign headquarters in Santa Barbara, Gershater plans to announce that he will continue his run for governor.

He and his wife, Lihi, have two other children, Tami, 18, and Brian, 14. Gershater owns two hearing-aid stores.

The former Vermont resident ran unsuccessfully for the Vermont state Senate in 1978 and 1980.

Gershater described himself as an independent but not a member of the American Independent Party. In an interview with The Times, he said he had been waiting for "a sign" that he should run for governor. The sign came in the form of a shooting star he saw while sitting in his car outside his Camarillo home.

His inspiration now, he said, is David. The young man came to his father's headquarters a week ago and spent the day answering phones and running errands.

"He got into it so heavily and so enthusiastically," Gershater said. "He really was a leader."

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