A community is devastated after a high school water polo coach was killed by a teen driver.
Christian Dominguez, 21, was the assistant water polo coach at Ramona High School in Riverside. He was beloved by students and colleagues who say his death marks a huge loss to the community.
“He was the one who gave us hope all the time,” said Yesenia Dominguez, Christian’s sister. “He would always make us feel better.”
Christian was the second youngest out of five siblings who, in his spare time, loved traveling, enjoying music and helping others.
On July 25, his family’s life was turned upside down.
Christian was riding his motorcycle on the westbound lanes of the 91 Freeway around 5:30 p.m. when he was clipped by the driver of an Acura TSX sedan near Ivy Street, according to California Highway Patrol.
The driver, an unlicensed teenager, was driving recklessly when he abruptly changed lanes and struck Christian, authorities said.
The impact killed Christian as the teen driver sped away from the scene.
“He was the glue to our family,” Yesenia said. “When he would give hugs, he would give them so tight like a bear.”
As friends and family members remain devastated, they want Christian to be remembered for the person he was and the thing he loved to do most — being passionate about coaching water polo and swimming.
“I cannot tell you what an amazing job he did as a coach, as a mentor for kids looking up to him,” said Cindy Robinson, head coach of boys’ water polo at Ramona High School.
Robinson coached Christian as a water polo player before he later joined the team as an assistant coach in 2021. Robinson said she watched him mature throughout the years before growing into a mentor who was always willing to help others.
“He never said ‘No,’” Robinson recalled. “If somebody said, ‘Hey, I want an extra five minutes. Can you go over this with me in the water?’ he’d jump into the water and five minutes would turn into an hour.”
Those are the kind of memories that Josh Kobus, a Ramona High School senior athlete, remembers of Christian as well.
“There were times I’d be struggling in school and he would give me space, he would take it easy on me,” Kobus remembered. “He helped me learn a new stroke that I didn’t know how to do in swim and he worked with just me for a week straight.”
Although Christian’s life was tragically cut short, he managed to make a profound and lasting impact on those who knew and loved him.
“If he had problems going on, he never had an attitude, no matter what,” Kobus said. “He never came in negative.”
Community members are now doing all they can to help support Christian’s family. Robinson tells KTLA they’re working on creating a scholarship in honor of Christian’s legacy.
“We need more people like him in this world,” Yesenia said. “We’re going to miss him a lot. He’s one of the best brothers anybody could ask for.”
Through the help of dashcam video, authorities were able to track down and arrest the teen driver in Hemet the next day. Although authorities say drugs and alcohol are not believed to be a factor in the deadly crash, the teen could face charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.
A GoFundMe page was created to help support Christian’s family with funeral expenses.