SUNRISE, Fla. – They were teens who had their whole lives ahead of them. They were also strangers.
An 18-year-old was driving home and had lost his way. He then crashed his car into a lake in Sunrise. Aden Perry, 17, was in the area when the crash happened and tried to help.
Both would lose their lives after the tragedy on Tuesday.
The driver was a high school basketball player who had just left a game at Coral Springs High School.
That’s when investigators said he lost control of the Lexus he was driving. At the time of the crash, he was on the phone trying to get directions to make it back to his Davie home. It is then that he missed a turn and hit a curb, a tree, and then crashed into a lake at the Residences at Sawgrass Mills.
A resident heard Perry’s mother screaming for help when her son never re-surfaced.
Helen Villalonga asked the mother if she was OK.
“And she tells me, ‘No, my son is in the lake.’ I said, ‘What?’ (She said) ‘Please call 911,’” Villalonga said.
Local 10 News learned that Perry was a Western High School student who had just received awards for outstanding achievement in advanced placement courses. His father, Alan, took to Facebook to write: “Our beautiful son. We are devastated but so proud of him for giving his life to try and save a total stranger.”
Coral Funez, a student at Western High School, said she too was in awe of Perry’s bravery.
“In moments like that. Panic. Fight or flight. People often choose to run. Throwing yourself in there, trying your hardest. It is so sad what happened to him, but it is beautiful what he did,” she said.
As for the 18-year-old driver’s parents, Local 10 News contacted them to speak with them, but they asked for privacy in what they described as “this difficult time.”
Perry’s family has set up a GoFundMe page that will provide scholarships to students interested in medicine or science.