As the confetti from the recent Lassen High School graduation still littered the ground, family and friends of an upcoming senior mourned his loss.
On Wednesday night, June 21, family, friends, acquaintances and community members gathered at Arnold Field in Susanville to remember Clay Cagle, a student who died earlier that day in a fatal collision.
Through telling funny stories and tales that showed his good character and witty humor, attendees at the candlelight vigil honored Cagle’s life. As many wore camouflage attire, they spoke of times when Cagle dyed his beard darker and told everyone he lost a bet, to when he took his father’s truck to go duck hunting one day.
Attendees recognized Cagle would not want them to be sad, with his sister acknowledging he would be upset to know they were crying.
According to a statement from the California Highway Patrol, at around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, officers responded to reports of a collision with a Dodge pickup against a tree on Blickenstaff Road, east of Lake Crest.
The truck had been traveling west at an unknown, high-rate of speed. For an unknown reason, the vehicle drifted from the westbound lane, across the eastbound lane and hit the tree.
The vigil was held around a cross draped with an American Flag. Attendees took turns speaking, sharing information that showed Cagle’s love for hunting, family and his friends.
“He was one of those guys who could just make you smile,” said one speaker.
A coworker he had just started working with less than two months prior shared some information he had gathered during the short stint he knew him.
“He talked about every single one of you like family,” he said. “At the end of the day, he had one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever met.”
Attendees also got to hear about Cagle’s skill with trapshooting on the Lassen Grizzly Claybreakers and his love for Honey Lake Firearms.
As the vigil came to a close, a Hank Williams song was played, balloons were released, and friends and loved ones left tokens by the cross: Clay pigeons and cans helped form the pile growing by the memorial.
A service for Cagle will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 8 at Community Church, located at 1400 Numa Road in Susanville.