Two brothers died in Playa Del Rey car crash, days before one was to cross a graduation stage

Morningside High staff member Eddie Conner holds a picture of David Ceja
Morningside High teacher Eddie Conner holds a picture of David Ceja while walking down an aisle at Morningstar Hgh School's commencement on Thursday in Los Angeles. David Ceja and his brother Hector were killed in a two-car collision in Playa del Rey on Tuesday. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Two teen brothers died in a car accident this week, just days before one was set to graduate at Morningside High School.

David and Hector Ceja, 17 and 15, died after the car they were in collided with another vehicle Tuesday night in Playa Del Rey, authorities said. The Inglewood Unified School District identified the two teens this week.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of two Inglewood Unified School District students as a result of a fatal car accident," the district said in a statement. "The district is providing counseling support to our school communities during this difficult time. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families impacted by this profound loss."

On Thursday, the school honored David Ceja during its graduation ceremony, where he would have crossed the stage and received his diploma. A framed photo of a smiling David, dressed in his red graduation cap and gown, was placed among the rows of seated graduates at the ceremony.

The mood at the graduation was somber as his family received his diploma on his behalf. The school held a moment of silence for the “fallen monarchs,” the school’s mascot. Three doves were released during the ceremony in honor of the brothers.

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“This is devastating,” Morningside High School Principal Kiwiana Cain said during the commencement ceremony. “We’re awarding him with his diploma today because he earned it. He earned it. He was supposed to be here with us today.”

According to authorities, the car the teens were in was traveling north on Vista Del Mar near Dockweiler Beach when it crossed over into the southbound lane and collided with another vehicle. David died at the scene; his brother died on the way to the hospital, Los Angeles police officials said.

Three other people were also injured and taken to a hospital, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.