Community mourns LBHS student’s passing after tragic car accident in the Canyon Tuesday

The Laguna Beach community is mourning the tragic death of LBHS student Jasmen Wilkinson, who sadly passed away following a car accident on Laguna Canyon Road on Tuesday morning. 

The accident occurred while a family friend was driving Jasmen and her sister to school at approximately 7:47 a.m. LBFD paramedics arrived on scene and extracted the three occupants from the Lexus and transported them to Mission Hospital – Mission Viejo due to serious injuries sustained.

In the days following the collision, Jasmen, a 14-year-old freshman, passed away due to critical injuries sustained as a result of the accident. Her 11-year-old sister, a fifth grader at El Morro Elementary School, is recovering after surgery for broken bones. 

The driver of the 2001 Lexus SUV was identified as a 74-year-old male Laguna Beach resident. At the time of the accident, Jasmen was seated in the rear seat and her sister was seated in the front right passenger seat of the SUV when it collided with a parked dump truck.

Community mourns

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Photo by Scott Brashier

A memorial was created in loving memory of LBHS student Jasmen Wilkinson, who passed away after a tragic accident in the Canyon on the way to school on Tuesday

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “The Lexus was traveling westbound on Laguna Canyon Road, at approximately 50 mph when the driver claimed he suddenly blacked out. He lost control of the vehicle causing it to drift towards the shoulder where it collided with an occupied parked dump truck. The force of the collision caused the vehicle to spin out of control until it collided with a tree in the center median.”

The occupant in the parked dump truck sustained no injuries.

“The investigation remains open,” Sgt Cota said.

Corporal Cornelius Ashton made notifications to both schools and contacted the girls’ mother. Acting Lieutenant Cota responded to the scene of the collision and commanded the incident. 

LBUSD Superintendent Jason Viloria sent several emails, including the following email to LBUSD families on Wednesday, the day after the collision:

“We want to provide you an update on yesterday’s serious car accident involving two LBUSD students who attend El Morro and Laguna Beach High School. We are heartbroken to share with you that the high school student died this afternoon as a result of the injuries sustained in the car accident.

We want to let you know that we have resources available to provide immediate support services should you or your child need them. Counseling support is available for any student that needs to speak with a counselor, and we have requested additional counseling support from the county to assist us in providing support. We have included these resources for you should you need them: 

--Helping Children Cope with Grief and Loss (click to read)

--Developmental Responses to Grief (click to read

We know that our community will want to express their care and support to the family impacted by this tragedy. We are honoring the family’s request for privacy. If we receive additional information to share, we will provide you with an update.”

On Thursday, LBUSD Superintendent Viloria sent an additional email addressed to the LBUSD Community:

“As was shared yesterday [Wednesday], a member of the Laguna Beach High School student body, 9th grader Jasmen Wilkinson, passed away from injuries sustained in a car accident on Tuesday. 

In our tight-knit community, a tragedy like this is felt by all. At the request of her family, we wanted to share information about her services in the event that anybody would like to attend. 

A Celebration of Life Service will be held honoring Jasmen Wilkinson on Saturday, Nov 9, at 12 p.m., at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located at 682 Park Ave.

All are welcome to attend. Again, our deepest condolences go out to the Wilkinson family and all impacted by this tragedy.”

“Wilkinson Friends” set up a GoFundMe page on Thursday to help Jasmen’s family with expenses. 

“We are setting up this GoFundMe page to provide a way for this single mother of the family to pay for hospital costs, funeral expenses, and any ongoing needs she will face. Thank you so much for your support,” states the post on the GoFundMe page for the Wilkinson family.

Please click here to donate.

As of Friday, Nov 8, at 12:29 a.m., 496 generous donors have contributed $53,680 and counting. The heartfelt support exemplifies how the Laguna Beach community takes care of its own with open arms.

-By Suzie Harrison