Community mourns former South High student killed in Southern California
Friends and family are remembering the life of a young Alaska man who was struck and killed Thursday by an intoxicated driver in Southern California.
Sladen Mohl was in Torrance, California attending El Camino College where he played for the college's baseball team. The 19-year-old died near campus last week after Torrance police say he was standing on a pedestrian island when a 16-year-old driver, who police say was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, ran a red light and hit him.
Mohl died from his injuries at the scene, according to Torrance police.
Kathy Day has known Mohl for several years. She's now the family spokesperson during one of its darkest moments.
"I still think everything is still really a blur, and they're overwhelmed obviously, but they are just so thankful for everyone stepping up the way they have," she said. "Friends have just flooded them with support."
Tom Homza knew Mohl most of his life; he coached him in the Abbott O Rabbit League.
"He was a gentle soul, an honest, clean-cut kid, a hard worker and a dedicated teammate," Homza said. "He always had this joy of anticipation in his eyes, 'I'm here, I'm ready to go. I can't wait to do the next task, whatever it is,' even it's playing wiffle ball in our yard here, or going and catching, or getting ready to go to college."
Mohl had a close relationship with the Homza family. Homza's son, Jonny, threw the final pitch that gave South Anchorage High School the state title in 2016. Mohl played behind the plate.
Homza said it's a difficult time for his son.
"He's doing as well and as poorly as you'd expect. He's having a tough time, but he's able to get on with it, and do what he needs to do," said Homza.
Mohl continued to play at Mulcahy Stadium after graduation, spending the last two seasons with the Anchorage Bucs.
"Just a great kid on and off the field," said Bucs general manager Shawn Maltby. "Never had any issues, he worked his way into the lineup at certain times with his approaches to the plate. Good ball player, yeah, he's going to be sorely missed."
College took Mohl to El Camino College and Torrance. A memorial has gone up near the spot where Mohl died. Friends, family, teammates and fans have gathered there to grieve. A GoFundMe in Mohl's name has already surpassed its $30,000 goal.
"Excellent character, excellent personality, always with a smile, would talk to anybody, never conceited, knew what he wanted in life," El Camino College fan Billy Bracato told KCBS-TV. "Excellent kid, excellent kid."
The El Camino College baseball team held a memorial for Mohl on Monday at the college's baseball field. KCBS-TV reported his sister, coach and teammates took turns speaking during the ceremony.
There is no word yet on funeral arrangements back in Anchorage.
The Anchorage Bucs plan to honor Mohl during the upcoming season. Homza says the South Anchorage High School baseball team will wear a special patch for the rest of the season to honor Mohl.
Meanwhile, Torrance Police said there is no new information regarding their investigation into the crash that caused Mohl's death. The Los Angeles County Juvenile Court System said it does not release any information regarding juvenile cases.
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