Car crash claims local teen's life

Family, friends recall man’s sense of humor
By: Jenifer Gee, Gold Country News Service
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PILOT HILL — Larry Moneypenny can tell you about the time a truck skidded around a sharp corner near his home and hit a tree so hard it sent the driver’s tools flying into an empty field nearby. Moneypenny, an 18-year-resident of Salmon Falls Road in Pilot Hill, can also tell you about the crash that happened early Sunday morning and took the lives of two young men and one teenage girl. On Monday, family members and friends were reeling from the shock and grief over the loss of three passengers who died after the car they were traveling in lost control on a sharp curve and slammed into an oak tree lining the side of the road. Passengers Nan Hee Pak, 16, of Rocklin and 20-year-old Alexander Weast of Citrus Heights were pronounced dead at the scene. A third passenger, Elijah “E.J.” Shaw, 18, of Folsom, was life-flighted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center where he later died. The driver, 20-year-old Mark Barrera Jr., of Rocklin survived the crash. He was treated and released from Sutter Roseville for minor injuries. California Highway Patrol spokesman Dan Stark said officers believe speed was a factor in the accident. He said they do not believe alcohol was involved. ‘My best friend’ On Monday, Eva Shaw spoke through tears about her only child and her best friend. She said she couldn’t find the words to express her feelings about how she felt when 200 students showed up at her home Sunday night to hold a candlelight vigil after news of her son, E.J. Shaw’s, death had spread. “The responses I’ve had so far are overwhelming,” Eva Shaw said. “He had so many friends and he touched so many lives. I don’t even know a quarter of the kids.” Folsom High School Principal Kathryn Allaman said many students attended the vigil. On Monday, counselors were available on campus and a memorial poster was set up for students to write their remembrances. Allaman said E.J. Shaw stood out among staff for his sense of humor. “E.J. was full of life and he was one of those students who was kind of the class clown and had a great sense of humor,” Allaman said. “We certainly feel a great loss here in our Folsom High School family.” Soon after E.J. Shaw’s death, a close friend set up a memorial Web page on Friends have since been posting message to E.J. Shaw and uploading photos of the fun-loving teen. Eva Shaw said her son had a promising future. A member of the Capital Crew Rowing Team, E.J. Shaw was in the gym often to maintain an athletic physique. The Folsom High School senior had plans to attend a California college where he was thinking of majoring in business and then later on pursuing a law degree. Eva Shaw said she expects to receive acceptance letters in the mail next year. “He had everything going for him,” Eva Shaw said. Shaw said she will remember a well-balanced, selfless son who chose to spend much of his free time with her. “I’m so at a loss,” Eva Shaw said. “My only child — my best friend — he’s gone.” ‘It wrenches my heart’ Moneypenny said outside of more speed enforcement by officers, speed bumps or speed limit signs, he doesn’t know what will stop drivers from taking too many chances on the country road filled with hairpin turns. “It wrenches my heart,” Moneypenny said. “Three families are just torn apart right now.” Jenifer Gee can be reached at