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Lack of driving experience believed to have caused crash that killed high school athlete

Ari Arteaga's girlfriend is conscious at hospital

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Troopers believe a lack of driving experience led to the fatal crash that killed the son of University of Miami pitching coach J.D. Arteaga.

Ari Arteaga, 16, was killed instantly when his Jeep Wrangler crashed into a power pole just before 10 p.m. Saturday on Southwest 87th Avenue near 64th Street.

A makeshift memorial is now taking shape at the scene to honor his memory.

A bouquet of white flowers Monday rested at the site where the teen lost his life.

On Sunday, his classmates at Christopher Columbus High School attended a private mass to pray for his family.

"He meant a lot to us. He was a brother. You can tell by the showing in there how much he meant to a lot of people," Columbus student and fellow football player Luis Cristobal said. 

The death of the talented baseball and football player sent shockwaves through the South Florida sports world.

"A lot of communities are hurting right and probably none more so than the family," Columbus football coach Chris Merritt said. 

Troopers said the newly licensed teen was driving his Jeep Wrangler when he bumped into a curb, overcorrected and crashed into a power pole.

His girlfriend and passenger, Indira Rambarran, 16, a student-athlete from Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, was rushed to Kendall Regional Medical Center with a severe cut to the head.

Rambarran reportedly doesn't remember the crash.  

"The young lady apparently had surgery this morning. She's conscious and awake, which we're all happy to hear," Merritt said. 

Rambarran's brother told Local 10 News he knew Ari Arteaga to be a responsible driver.

"My mom and dad -- they trusted him. He was a pretty good driver. I don't know what happened," Harry Rambarran said.  

According to a crash report from the Florida Highway Patrol, the passenger was wearing a seat belt, but it's unclear whether Ari Arteaga was wearing one.

On Monday, J.D. Arteaga expressed his appreciation for the "outpouring of love, texts, phone calls and visits" to his family's home.

In lieu of flowers, the Arteaga family is asking for donations to be made through a GoFundMe account to help the Rambarran family with Indira's medical expenses.


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