Teenage couple remembered at deadly crash site in Oakhurst

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Gathered in candlelight, family and friends remembered 18-year-old Jeramy Smith Jr. and his girlfriend, 18-year-old Danika Lee Ibbotson.

"He always said if speed takes my life, if this car takes my life, don't cry because I was smiling doing what I loved," said Jeramy's sister, Marissa Smith.

But it was hard to find a dry eye in the crowd of more than 100 loved ones who lit candles near the place where the deadly crash happened.

"And he did pass away in the car that he loved the most," said Marissa.

CHP officers say the young couple was in Jeramy's beloved BMW Sunday night headed from one friend's house to another when he tried to pass a Honda Civic on Rd. 426 in Oakhurst.

His car clipped the back of the Honda, swerved off the road and hit a tree. Jeramy's sister says the crash happened just down the road from their friend's house.

"He never showed up," said Marissa. "She walked down the road and saw the accident."

They were both rushed to the hospital. Jeramy died on the way there. After undergoing surgery and being hooked up to life support, Danika passed away just a couple of days later.

"It's a very hard situation where you have to see your only brother. not make it through this tragic accident," Marissa said.

Danika was set to graduate high school this spring. The young couple had just celebrated a year together.
"He really loved going up way into the mountains with his girlfriend, watching the sunset," Jeramy's mother reminisced.

They had plans for a future with their dog Beamer, who was in the car at the time of the crash but survived.

"It's very hard for both families to lose a child so young," said Marissa. "They are up there together, happy and smiling down watching over every single one of us."

Family members are warning to wear a seatbelt anytime you get in a vehicle. Jeramy and Danika were not wearing seatbelts the night of the crash.

Danika's family's GoFundMe account can be found here.

Jeramy's family's GoFundMe account can be found here.
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