BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — It was a typical afternoon in a quiet southwest Bakersfield neighborhood last month until the life of a beloved grandmother, Gayla Sue Price, was taken away in the blink of an eye.
Her family blames a reckless driver.
“I don’t think anything is going to be normal after this,” Crystal Neilson, Gayla’s daughter, said. “She was part of our everyday life. Every day she was there.”
Price, 66, was driving home from the grocery store when her vehicle was struck. Attorney Matt Clark described the impact of the crash.
“Gayla Price was at a complete stop when the impact occurred,” Clark said Thursday. “Her car was pushed from a complete stop 350 feet to the east. The witness puts her car airborne at the time of the impact.”
The crash happened on April 18 around 5:45 p.m. on Campus Park Drive in southwest Bakersfield.
Price was driving a 2018 Honda Civic hatchback when she was struck by a 2019 Charger Hellcat — a 717 horsepower muscle car touted by Dodge as a “speed machine.”
Price was pronounced dead at the scene.
Bakersfield police say the driver of the Hellcat was Karim Reyad, 18. Investigators said Reyad was driving eastbound on Campus Park Drive when he crossed into westbound lanes and struck Price’s vehicle. The department said speed was a factor.
Clark, the Price family’s attorney, said he believes speed was a huge factor.
“We have information that suggests at the impact he impacted Gayla Price’s vehicle, he was doing 108 mph,” Clark said.
Reyad’s recklessness was also a big factor, according to Clark.
“I think BPD will later confirm this, but we have information that suggests he had only had this car for at most a couple of weeks and in that period of time he had already burned through three sets of tires.”
Clark said he plans to sue the driver and the owner of the vehicle and potentially present other claims that may come as a result of BPD’s investigation.
“The one thing that I can do is make certain that he no longer has the means at any point in his life to have a car like this again and be able to do something like this again.”
Price leaves behind two children and 10 grandchildren.
“I’m never gonna have a mom no more,” Price’s son, Elve Willis said. “I can’t even drive around this state where I was born and raised because I’ll always think she’s gonna be there and she’s never gonna be there anymore.”