Tragedy affects the Carlsbad community


Jessica Streich

On Feb. 12, Carlsbad suffered a tragic loss with the death of Vinnie Zellefrow in a fatal hit-and-run accident on Pacific Coast Highway. The driver was a 17-year-old Carlsbad girl who was arrested later that evening. A memorial at the crash site commemorates Zellefrow’s life as a lively Carlsbad graduate, decorated with notes and momentos from loved ones.

On Wednesday evening Feb. 12, tragedy struck off of Carlsbad Boulevard north of Island Way.  A 17-year old girl, allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol, struck 20-year old Vincent Zellefrow and fled the scene. Zellefrow was skateboarding alongside his friend and was critically injured by the accident.  Though there were many efforts to save Zellefrow with emergency treatment, he died on the scene.

Witnesses described a silver Chrysler sedan and authorities were able to find and arrest the 17-year old driver under suspicion of DUI, manslaughter and felony hit and run.  Authorities matched the front grill of the car left on the scene with the vehicle found on Ponto Drive. The driver was booked into the Kearney Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility.

The seventeen year-old had been drinking at the time of the crash and consumed another four to five beers after the incident.  A few hours after the arrest had been made the 17-year old had a .07 percent blood alcohol level, just below the legal limit of .08 percent for adults in California.

Due to this information, the 17-year old is now only being charged with felony hit and run with allegations. The first hearing took place on Tuesday Feb. 18, where she denied charges, but still faces a possible four years in prison if convicted for the crime.

After judge Robert Trentacosta heard both sides of the story, he ordered the teen remains in custody until a decision is made. Her next hearing will be on Feb. 27.

 The driver’s name has remained disclosed since the time of the accident, because she is a minor.

Many members of the community are affected and grieve the loss of Zellefrow. The site of the incident is now covered with flowers, notes and jellybeans, which were some of Vincent’s favorite things. The official memorial was held on Saturday Feb. 22, where friends and family gathered for support during this hard time.

The Vinnie Zellefrow Memorial and Scholarship Fund is raising money for the creation of a memorial in the location of the accident. Also, the fund hopes to create music scholarships for students enrolled at Carlsbad High School. Zellefrow always had a passion for music, and this fundraiser will help carry out his dream.