Hundreds of people in the Westlake community came together for a fundraiser on Sunday to support the families impacted by the tragic collision that claimed the life of Westlake High School freshman Wesley Welling and injured three others.
The benefit featured a silent auction, live music, and activities to help support and raise funds for the families struggling after the devastating crash. All the proceeds from the event will go to the affected students’ families.
“It has warmed my heart to know how many people know about this event and how many people are planning on attending because we are small,“ said Alissa Morton, the fundraiser organizer. “Westlake is a small community, but we are resilient and we are compassionate and tonight is proof of that.”
The fundraiser was held in response to the fatal car collision outside of Westlake High School Last Tuesday, when 24-year-old Austin Eis plowed into a group of teens in what officials believe was an intentional act.
Wesley Welling, 15, suffered fatal injuries from the impact. A 16-year-old girl, a 14-year-old girl and another 15-year-old boy were taken to the hospital in various conditions. The 14-year-old girl is still in the hospital in critical condition, while the other two teens have been released. All four were students at Westlake High School.
“I’m a father with two daughters, teenage daughters,” said Ventura County Sheriff Jim Fryhoff. “I cannot imagine the tragedy that these parents are facing, how scared they were when they heard of the accident. Those are nightmares for parents and I cannot imagine why someone would do this. It’s a complete mystery as of right now of why this occurred, but we’ve charged the individual responsible and we’ll hopefully hold him accountable.”
Eis had committed several crimes earlier in the day before plowing into the teens and is expected to be charged with murder, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and attempted kidnapping, among other charges. He is expected to appear in court on May 19 and is currently being held without bond.
The principal of Westlake High School announced Sunday night that they will be installing a permanent memorial for Welling in front of the school.