By Jay Seidel
La Habra Journal
He was dedicated and someone who was always cracking jokes.
That’s how friends and coaches described Ethan Hawks, a junior at Whittier Christian who died Thursday morning after a unique accident.
Hawks, 17, and his mother, Kat, were traveling south on the 57 Freeway south of Katella Avenue on the afternoon of Nov. 19 when a metal object crashed through their windshield and struck Ethan on the right side of his face.
The piece of metal was roughly 7 to 10 pounds and severed his carotid artery. He also suffered extensive damage to his jaw and cheekbone.
His mother, who was driving and had picked him up from an event where he was volunteering, attempted to stop the bleeding as she drove to St. Joseph’s Hospital. He was then transported to UCI Medical Center.
After being treated, he was placed into an induced coma to help him heal. He had a bad reaction to medication he was given Wednesday night and was stabilized after going into septic shock.
However, Ethan died Thursday morning just after 5 a.m.
The Yorba Linda teen was known as a character and a fun kid to his friends at Whittier Christian.
The school established a GoFundMe page after the accident. More than $29,000 has been raised through donations by people who were touched by Ethan’s accident.
The Hawks family has shared they have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and love they have received for Ethan.
“The overwhelming response of support for the Hawks family over the last few days is a testament to just how much Ethan was loved by his family and friends and how his story touched so many lives,” said Whittier Christian’s Head of School Carl Martinez.
“The Whittier Christian High School community is heavy-hearted today after losing Ethan Hawks to complications from the terrible accident that happened to him this past Saturday,” said WCHS Athletic Direcctor Rolland Essinger “The Heralds stand in support of the Hawks family and will be there with them in the tough days, weeks and months ahead.”
Hawks was known as a fighter on the Heralds football team.
Last season, the junior suffered what many thought was a season ending leg fracture against Maranatha. However, after a rehabilitation, Hawks was back on the team practicing in spring.
Regarding Hawks tenacity and determination to rejoin his team, WCHS Head Football coach Sergio Gradilla described Hawks as a “tough young man.”
“His determination was amazing to watch,” Essinger said. “Most people thought he would never play again, but Ethan never wavered from his goal to come back.”
Gradilla shared that Hawks was loved by his teammates and enjoyed making them laugh.
Nicknamed “Boom Stick” by his Herald teammates, Hawks had his whole team supporting him after the accident.
Whittier Christian Quarterback Quinn Commans wrote in a Twitter post, “Ethan, you were the craziest and happiest kid I’ve ever met and yet still couldn’t catch a break. It’s way too soon to see you go, but I wouldn’t want anyone else creating all the crazy memories, always asking about my day, reminding me how bad I was at football and most importantly telling me that you love me every single day. You wouldn’t stop hugging me until I said it back because you knew how much I hated being touched. I promise I will make you so proud.”
Essinger added that Hawks fought hard and he was supported by an amazing family.
“Ethan’s mom, dad, sister and uncle came alongside Ethan in such an incredible way,” Essinger said. “The doctors and nurses at the UCI Medical Center fought with Ethan every step of the way as well and are certainly appreciated for all they did for him.”
The WCHS community held a gathering in honor of Hawks Friday at Herald Hall. Grief counselors and pastors were on campus Monday.
“Ethan will always be remembered as a free-spirited young man who would not let anything stand in the way of him achieving his goals,” Essinger said. “We will certainly miss Ethan, and we are thankful for the time we had with him. God blessed us with Ethan Hawks.”
A “Celebration of Ethan’s Life” will be held Saturday, December 3, at 10 a.m. at Whittier Christian.
Click here to help support the Hawks family: https://www.gofundme.com/ethan-hawks-recovery-expenses