Parents of Bay Bridge crash victim speak

August 18, 2008 7:26:49 PM PDT
An alleged drunken driver accused of causing a fiery, fatal crash on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge early Sunday has been released from custody pending charges in Alameda County.

It's the worst call that any parent could get ? a call at 3:45 a.m. telling you that your child was involved in a horrific accident.

"He was just so unique. He was just a beautiful kid."

That's how Chris Leister will remember his son Scott.

The 21 year old college student was killed early Sunday morning on the Bay Bridge when a car rear ended the one he was in. Witnesses say a Subaru was going more than 100 miles an hour. The driver, 22-year-old Jerrell Puno, was arrested for felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter. Leister was sitting in the back of the Mercedes. The driver and two other passengers suffered minor injuries.

On Monday, Leister's parents spoke to ABC7 about their son, who was by any measure an amazing young man with a big heart.

"He made a huge difference in the world already in all of the things he's done like that but he had so much more to give. He would be the first to jump up and help," says mother Carol.

"He would be always the one to support people, hug them and care for them," says his father Chris.

Leister graduated from the small, private Athenian School in Danville. He was attending the University of Rochester in New York, but had taken time off to participate in the National Outdoor Leadership School. Its programs took him to Vietnam, India and other places where he could combine his passion for the outdoors and community service.

"He worked building rooms for an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. He would talk about figuring out how to bring clean water to villages," says his mother Carol.

He was also smart, getting almost a perfect score in the SAT's and was looking at medicine as a career.

"He talked about maybe moving to South America and working there in the medical field so he could contribute in places that really needed someone."

Someone wrote in his yearbook, "I'm sure the whole world has told you "you'll go far."

Scott Leister did -- in his short life.

The driver of the Subaru, Jerrell Puno, was released after posting his $102,000 bail. The Alameda County Police Department has yet to press charges because they are waiting for the result of his blood alcohol test. The accident damaged the timing sensors of the bridge lights, but has now been fixed since then.


Load Comments