Five more teens killed in an Orange County accident. Who, what to blame. The OC culture of fast and loose driving?

A very sad and frightening (especially if you’re the parent of a driving-age teen) story here in SoCal over the weekend.

It is an occurrence that is wrong on so many levels that it necessarily leaves the rest of us with a modicum of common sense bewildered.

About 2 o’clock on Saturday morning, an older model BMW with six teens was returning from Knott’s Scary Farm, the renowned annual Halloween fright-fest hosted by Knott’s Berry Farm that has grown to great acclaim and become the obligatory autumnal draw for young kids all over the Los Angeles/Orange County metropolitan area. The driver, Bradley Morales, 16, lost control of his speeding BMW as it traveled south on the 5 freeway in the city of Irvine. The car struck an embankment and caught fire, killing all 5 passengers, leaving Morales solely to contend with some tragic miscalculations for the rest of his life, not to mention the burden his parents must endure for they ultimately are responsible for the choices of their minor child. Wait until the lawsuits begin flooding in. They will most likely be working the rest of their lives to pay off all the wrongful death settlements.


To further confound the nonsensical nature of this avoidable tragedy, local Los Angeles blog, laist, reports, by way of KCAL9, that Morales had a history of speeding. According to Arlene Moreno, sister of Brandon Moreno, 14, who was killed in the crash, “Every time. Every person who went into his car with him. Everyone told him to slow down.” Apparently to no avail.

In addition to Morales and Moreno, the other passengers, all killed, were Jennifer Campos, Jennifer Bahena, Matthew Melo and Alex Sotelo. In addition, laist posted this photo of Moreno and Morales (on the right).


At the expense of stating the obvious, I think we can safely surmise these kids were all Hispanic, but more pointedly, Mexican-American. And this is a laundry list of WTF’s that makes most people shake their heads:

-Why was a 16-year-old driving a car full of minors at 2 in the morning?
-Why was a 16-year-old without a driver’s license or learner’s permit driving a car with 5 minors and no adults?
-Why would someone buy an unlicensed 16-year-old a car, or at the very least, lend it to him for an overnight trip to Knott’s?
-Despite the driver’s reputation, why did at least the parents of one passenger allow him to drive with such a risky driver?
-Did any of the parents involved exert the smallest trace of strict oversight of their children’s lives?

I don’t know what to say. As tragic as this is, one cannot help but wonder whether or not stronger parenting of any of these children might have prevented or lessened the death toll somewhat. And then there is the ethnic angle. I was thinking of writing about the cavalier fatalistic attitude intrinsic to the Mexican temperament. In that context, this accident and deaths are not so baffling. As Mexicans, we tend to throw fate to the wind and let it fall where it may. This manifests as really thoughtless, impulsive, rash behavior that leaves White laist readers puzzled. It’s the curse of such a culture of machismo. We don’t fret or worry about possible bad fortune, and furthermore, we don’t even try to address it proactively because that is just unheard of! The concepts of “neurotic” and “Mexican” are so difficult to utter in the same sentence that I almost choke at the thought. When your world is one whose decisions and momentum is infused with such fatalistic nihilism, why worry or fixate on sensible limitations that attempt to control that which is beyond our’s…?

I thought of writing about that but really, horrible crap like this happens all the time, across every ethnicity. In fact, just last year, also in Orange County, three Filipino teens were killed when a Saudi Arabian 17-year-old boy without a driver’s license lost control of his speeding car. Orange County’s wide, modern streets entice reckless speeding, evidenced by the glut of high-speed fatalities involving expensive cars. The upper middle class trappings of abundance and parental spoiling don’t help.