'Always smiling': Friend remembers victim in Hwy 101 multi-car crash that killed 3 in Sunnyvale

J.R. Stone Image
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Friend remembers victim in Hwy 101 crash that killed 3 in Sunnyvale
Family and friends remember two victims who died in a deadly multi-car crash on Highway 101 in Sunnyvale.

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KGO) -- We now know that two men in their 20's were killed along Highway 101 Monday morning in an accident that involved at least half a dozen vehicles. 24-year-old Paul Dennig Jr. and 28-year-old Tyler Rasay died. The third victim has not yet been identified.

"I told him last time we spoke was that, I'm going to promise you once I get the Civic type car, I'm going to give you a ride in it. And I actually have the car, I'm riding in the car, and it's just like now, I can't give him a ride in the car!," said Pete Esty, wiping his tears.

Esty, Tyler Rasay's lifelong friend, was broken up when we spoke with him Monday night.

Officer Ross Lee of the California Highway Patrol tells us that this crash started with a driver in a Ford pick-up truck losing control and hitting the concrete wall of the center divider.

"That crash set off a chain reaction that involved ultimately six vehicles. At some point during the serious of vehicles crashing, three of the drivers of these involved vehicles got out of the cars and were standing in close proximity to the vehicles and to the cars," said Officer Lee.

RELATED: 3 killed, 5 injured in Sunnyvale Hwy 101 chain-reaction crashes, CHP says

CHP says that the victims had gotten out of their cars after the series of crashes and two of them were sent over the median where they were hit by a southbound car and killed.

Another vehicle then crashed into the scene, proving to be fatal for the three men.

"The three males who were struck as pedestrians, their vehicles to our knowledge and the information we have at this time had all been involved in the crash prior to getting out of the vehicle," said Lee.

Officers are still trying to figure out what caused the initial crash involving the pick-up. They say getting out of or staying in your vehicle after a crash is a decision that must be made in a case-by-case scenario.

MORE: 1 dead, 3 injured after multi-car collision in south San Jose, police say

Pete says his friend Tyler loved snowboarding, video games, and making people happy.

"He's the type of guy that would always put a smile on your face. He's the type of guy that would walk into the room always smiling," said Esty.

MORE: Good Samaritan killed by hit and run driver in Fremont, CHP says

We also spoke with the mother of 24-year-old Paul Dennig, who initially saw our story Monday morning and reached out looking for her son.

She has since gotten the word that he didn't make it. She told us that he was kind, he was thoughtful, and he was intelligent, someone who was moving some of their furniture for them when all of this happened. We wish their family, along with the other families here, the best going forward.

Loved ones of Tyler Rasay have set up a GoFundMe to financially help his family during this difficult time, if you have the means and would like to donate, click here.

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