A beloved Huntington Beach teacher is being mourned by close friends and family after she was killed in a suspected DUI crash on New Year’s Day.
Susan Palmer, 61, was a passenger inside of a silver Kia Soul when a black Nissan Rogue crashed into it head on. The crash occurred just north of Center Avenue on the evening of New Year’s Day, according to a Huntington Beach Police Department news release.
The 17-year-old driver of the Nissan was taken to the hospital for minor injuries and was released into police custody. He is expected to be booked on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter, officials said earlier.
A close friend of the family, Michelle, told KTLA that it’s been an emotional time for everyone who knew Palmer.
“She will very much be missed. Very much. They’re a lovely, lovely family. Lovely. Beyond lovely,” Michelle repeated. “I’m sure that person would love to turn back time, just like all of us would. They’re suffering too. I feel sorry for everyone involved.”
A local resident, Louis, expressed his sorrow for the family’s loss.
“This family will never be the same again,” Louis said. “Just because of drinking and getting behind the wheel and driving.”
Palmer had been in the back passenger seat at the time of the crash and suffered major internal injuries, police said. She was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Investigators are searching for any witnesses or surveillance video from the area that might help figure out what led up to the fatal collision.
Anyone with information can contact the Huntington Beach Police Department at 714-536-5666 or 714-536-5670.