South Bay Teen Girl Dies After Her Car Crashes Near Port of Oakland, Street Known for Illegal Racing

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A South Bay teenage girl died after her car crashed on an isolated street next to the Port of Oakland Friday morning. NBC Bay Area's George Kiriyama reports from Oak Grove High School in San Jose with more on the high school Junior. (Published Saturday, Jan 11, 2014)

    A South Bay teenage girl died after her car crashed on an isolated street next to the Port of Oakland Friday morning.

    Seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn Benson died in a high speed wreck on Maritime Street near the port of Oakland early Friday morning.

    Police said it was a spot known for fast cars and illegal racing. They are investigating whether any of those elements were involved in the case.

    NBC Bay Area spoke to her family Friday night, who said they will miss her smile and happy nature the most.

    "We're grieving the loss of our 17-year-old daughter that we're never going to see again," Benson's father Michael said.

    Oakland police say the car Kaitlyn Benson was driving left the road and hit a pole. The crash killed Benson and hurt a 17-year-old passenger.

    Police said speed was a factor.

    "This is a tragic, tragic thing for our family," Benson said. "And nobody, nobody, should have their 17-year-old daughter die in a car wreck under any circumstances, but especially racing in a car or driving fast and doing things at night when they should be at home."

    Benson said today's youth mentality could have contributed to the deadly crash.

    "These young kids today with the technology, the high performance cars, the carelessness of their driving and thinking their invincible because they're 17 and 18 and even younger," he said. "It's not worth it to ride down the streets so you can slap high fives with somebody when you beat somebody in a car race."

    Kaitlyn Benson was a junior at Oak Grove High School in San Jose. Her classmates were stunned to hear of her death.

    One student said his teacher talked about making the right choices.

    "It's going to affect your parents, your friends, your loved ones, and that's all he said," Oak Grove Freshman Armando Pinel said. "Think of the choices you're making"

    Benson's family said there are lessons learned here. They are hoping what happened to Kaitlyn will influence how other families deal with this issue.

    "Take a second, sit down and reflect on the decisions that they're making to ensure when they get in those decisions or get in those situations," Benson said. "Just think for one second about my baby that is now never coming home."

    On Saturday night, a vigil will be held for the 17-year-old girl in front of Oak Grove High School at 7 p.m.