Two families deal with tragedy involving young sweethearts

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- It's a story of two high school sweethearts, torn apart in a New Year's Day tragedy. Two families are broken, as 18-year-old Jesse Hill died from injuries sustained in a crash, while a 16-year-old girl clings to life at University Medical Center.

News 3's Mackenzie Warren spent the day at the hospital talking to both families

Even as the big brother, Robert Ricci, felt Jesse Hill's love for his little sister.

"If the story of these twoJesse and my younger sister -if their story could impact even just one person," Ricci says he'd be grateful. "They truly loved each other without knowing what love isthe kind of connection they had: it was something special."

It's a story of young love that ended too soon, when on New Year's Day the two were struck on Gliding Eagle Road near Black Oaks Street in North Las Vegas by a car driven by another teenager. They were taking some photos before winter break's end and before Jesse had to return to college in Florida.

North Las Vegas police say speed was the main factor in the crash and suspect alcohol and drugs also played a role.

And though Hill's life was taken, his legacy will go on. Hill was an organ donor.

"He was an amazing young man," Ricci says. "He's not with us anymore, but he's definitely making his mark and trying to help out."

As Ricci's sister fights at UMC, he knows her wounds will heal but fears her heart will always be broken.

"How is she going to handle the fact that he didn't make it?" The Ricci family has not left their little girl's side. She had another surgery today and while her recovery is their main focus, they eventually want to see change emerge from tragedy.

"It's unbelievable to think after so many accidents like this, they still continue to be a problem." Now two families beg a community to slow down and be aware, if not for their own safety: for Jesse Hill and his sweetheart.