Malibu Man Killed in Hit-and-Run

0
380
A tribute of flowers, candles and mementos sits inside Cafecito Organico at Point Dume.

A member of the Malibu community was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Los Angeles last week.

Early on the morning of Aug. 24, Erwan McKeown, a 19-year-old former Malibu High School student, died after his motorcycle was struck by a truck at the intersection of Vanowen Street and Tampa Avenue in Reseda, according to investigators with the LA County Department of Coroner. McKeown was reportedly on his way to work at Cafecito Organico in the Point Dume Plaza.

“A white gravel dump truck was negotiating a left turn from northbound Tampa to westbound Vanowen when the motorcycle collided with the right side of the truck,” according to the crime report. “The motorcyclist was ejected and died at scene. The truck driver failed to stop and render aid.”

The truck driver was later identified by police as Pedro Ramos, 54, of San Fernando, who turned himself in the following day, according to reports by ABC 7.

Since news of his death spread, a flood of sympathy and support for his family has poured out from the Malibu community.

A memorial honoring Erwan McKeown has been growing inside Cafecito Organico. Malibu residents, coworkers, friends and family have placed flowers, candles, crosses and special items in his memory. McKeown’s life touched many Malibu residents. Many people in the Malibu community have expressed their grief, as well as the impact McKeown made on their lives, to The Malibu Times

“It’s still overwhelming to see how many people’s lives he touched,” McKeown’s father, Todd McKeown, said. “When you watched him at work and saw how he interacted with people — he was so good at it. I was so proud of him.”

“I loved him like a brother, like a family member,” friend and coworker Erik Chapman said. “When I ride, I see him, and that’s true to now and will always be true. 

“When I ride, I ride for him and when I play, I play for him — when I play my cello,” Chapman continued. “It’s incredible to watch the whole city react this way. It’s big, it’s massive and it feels that way.”

Another coworker and friend, Samantha Purucker, said McKeown had become a close friend in the short time they had known one another.

“Erwan was such a loving and caring person,” Purucker said. “I met him a year ago when I moved to Malibu, and in that short time I became closer to him than I’ve been with anyone else besides my husband. The three of us were inseparable; we went to movies, museums, festivals, Yosemite and on countless rides together.”

McKeown’s father said he had social grace that endeared him to the Malibu community.

“He made himself a part of the community on his own,” Todd McKeown said. “I brought him to Malibu. He grew up in Malibu. He became his own person in Malibu — you’ve seen what people have said [about him]. He did a lot of that on his own.”

He added that his son had grown into the man he hoped he would be.

“I tried to guide him to where he was in a good place in his life — he was in a good place in his life,” Todd McKeown said. “I didn’t try and make him who I wanted him to be; I wanted him to be the man he wanted to be, and he was very much that, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

A fundraiser through GoFundMe has been set up to help the family pay for funeral expenses.

“The family needs to raise money for Erwan’s funeral and for his family to return his ashes to France where he was born,” the page describes. “Any donations are very much appreciated. Erwan was always the first to help someone in need. If you can assist his family in any way, they would greatly appreciate your support.”

Support has poured into the page, which raised nearly $15,000 from 166 people in the first four days it was up. Donations include funds from the Santa Monica/Malibu Classroom Teachers Association, Michel and Ellen Shane, and countless former MHS classmates and neighbors.

A memorial service is tentatively scheduled for Monday, Sept. 5, at Malibu Methodist Church, from 9 a.m. — 2 p.m.

Erwan McKeown’s GoFundMe page can be found at gofundme.com/2thqpm7w.

LAPD public information officers refused to confirm details of the incident or investigation to The Malibu Times

Emily Sawicki contributed to this report.