WOODLAND -- Hundreds of friends and fellow classmates of 17-year-old Andrew Ladd gathered at Pioneer High School in Woodland Wednesday for a vigil honoring his life.
Ladd died Wednesday at UC Davis Medical Center after struggling to survive for three days. Sources confirm his parents took him off life support Wednesday.
Police said Ladd was critically injured Sunday as a passenger in a car that lost control and slammed into a tree on Pioneer Road in Woodland. The impact split the car in half and ejected Ladd and the 17-year-old driver, despite the fact that they were reportedly both wearing seat belts.
"I was really grateful to have met him, really blessed to have met him," classmate Tayla Rivera said.
Rivera told FOX40 Ladd only recently came into her life but was so genuine and kind that losing him brought her to tears. She tied balloons around a tree at the crash site Wednesday, then attended the vigil.
"He would always come in class, cracking jokes and just making everyone laugh. You could just tell he cared a lot of about people's happiness," Rivera said.
"It could be the most serious moments like this and he would still find a way to laugh," one of Ladd's friends said at the vigil.
That friend spoke to the hundreds of students in attendance, saying that he saw the crash because he was following behind his friend's car. He said the driver was not intoxicated and never intended to hurt anyone. He said his friend was driving "just a little too fast" when he lost control.
Woodland police believe high speed was a factor in the crash.
At last update, the driver was still in critical condition.
Ladd's parents spoke on their GoFundMe account Wednesday saying, in part:
"Andrew is giving one last amazing and heroic gift to this world before he leaves. Andrew is donating his organs to save the lives of so many. We were so proud of him for so many things he did in his short life. And now we are proud of him for being a hero for so many others."
If you would like to donate money to Ladd's medical expenses, visit his family's GoFundMe page.