LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — “Summer was totally, totally the happiest kid I’ve ever met in my life,” said David Potochan, the father to 18-year-old Summer Potochan. Happy was just one of the many adjectives family and friends used to describe the teen tragically lost in a crash.
The teen was killed Sunday night in a rollover crash near Centennial and Tropical parkways; four other teenagers, between the ages of 17-19, were also injured. According to police, the crash happened shortly after 10 p.m. on a dirt access road between Tropical Parkway and Centennial Parkway.
The teenagers were in a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado pick up truck when it lost control and rolled over and down an embankment. Summer and one other girl were ejected from the bed of the pickup truck.
“My life won’t ever be the same without her around, said David Potochan.
It was only three weeks ago when David beamed with joy as he watched his daughter receive her diploma from Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy.
But now, filled with raw emotions and carrying a heavy heart, David’s devastated from the loss.
“I can’t explain what it feels like to lose a child; nobody ever wants that in life,” David said. “Wouldn’t wish that upon anybody. Our children are supposed to bury us.”
David described his daughter as a beautiful, social butterfly, who was outspoken and loved by every friend she made.
“We’d go boating, and everybody knew her; she was very popular,” David said. “She was absolutely beautiful, young, and starting her life.”
David said he never ever thought anything like this could happen to his angel. He said his most cherished memories with his daughter consisted of the time they would bond while they were in the car.
“Summer and I [have] driven in cars playing music while she drove, and we would film it and put it on Instagram or Facebook and make peace signs and stuff like kids,” he said.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for Potochan’s funeral.
The driver of the truck was not injured and did not show signs of impairment, Metro Police said. The other teen who was ejected, along with another 17-year-old, is said to have been seriously hurt. They were treated at University Medical Center.
David Potochan has a message for anyone who is considering taking a ride in a pickup truck.
“I would suggest any parent, teenager, anybody listening to this should not ride in the back of a truck. Ride inside; put your seatbelt on because no parent, child, woman, man, grandparents, anybody would want to get this phone call about their child.”