15 injured in crash that killed 3, including Cal Baptist cheerleading coach [Updated]
Monday evening's accident appears to have involved two cross-country teams traveling in opposite directions on Highway 395 five miles south of Bishop. The crash killed 35-year-old Wendy Rice, of Corona, who was driving a van that was carrying cross-country team members from the university to a high-altitude training camp in Mammoth.
Two college-age women, who were in the SUV going south when it rolled through the center divider and into oncoming traffic also died, but their names have not been released.
[Updated, 3:23 p.m.: The women have been identified as recent graduates and former cross-country runners from Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, according to a letter posted by the school’s principal.
Amanda Paige Post, 18, of Encinitas and Natalie Nield died after the Ford Expedition collided with the van.
Derek Thomas, a 2010 graduate of the high school, was also in the accident and was in critical condition with burns over most of his body.
More than 200 students, teachers, parents and friends gathered at the school’s chapel Tuesday morning to say the rosary for the victims.
Members of the school’s cross-country team were planning to meet to pray for their former teammates, said Principal Mike Deely.
“This is a severe shock to all of us and our prayers are with our family and friends affected by this tragedy," Deely said.
Drew Dellis, who graduated from the school in 2005, also was injured in the collision.]
Three others in that vehicle suffered third-degree burns.
Drew Constantine Delis, 22, of Encinitas, was taken to San Joaquin Community Hospital in Bakersfield with major injuries. Derek Randal Thomas, 19, of Encinitas, was flown to West Hills Hospital with major injuries.
A 19-year-old woman from Ashland, Ore., who was driving a 2000 Subaru Legacy also struck the van after the first collision and was hospitalized with third-degree burns and multiple injuries.
Authorities believe the SUV was carrying student athletes from a San Diego-area cross-country team because they found running gear in the wreckage.
Eleven student athletes from Cal Baptist were taken to area hospitals with minor to serious injuries: Alyssa Neimeyer, 19, of Temecula; David Solis, 19, of Corona; Brenda Perez, 20, of Riverside; Alicia Catanese, 21, of Corona; Jennifer McGuire, 17, of Stevenson Ranch; Kayla M. Beaudoin, 19, of Corona; Miguel Angel Gonzalez, 18, of Hacienda Heights; Marissa Benson, 18, of Gresham, Ore.; Jonathan Monteon, 18, of Chino; Jonathan Hernandez, 18, of Moreno Valley; and Hanna Ingulsrud, 19, of Ontario.
Inyo County Sheriff's Deputy Shane Scott was driving when he saw the collision in his rearview mirror, according to the California Highway Patrol. Scott went back to help, and he pulled one man from the burning SUV and heard another passenger screaming for help inside, but was unable to rescue her.
A third passenger who had been riding in the same SUV as the two who were killed was ejected from the vehicle and was on fire as she walked past Scott before dying in the roadway.
About 45 Cal Baptist students, including incoming freshman and seniors, departed from the small Riverside campus Monday evening for a week of high-altitude training near Mammoth, said Mark A. Wyatt, the university’s vice president of marketing and communication.
Some of the freshmen on the trip had attended a day of college orientation just hours before leaving on the trip. Because the cross-country team has only two coaches and needed an extra driver, Rice volunteered to drive the third van, he said.
-- Tony Barboza in Los Angeles and Phil Willon in Riverside
Photo: Rescue workers at the crash scene on Highway 395 south of Bishop. Credit: Mike Bodine / The Inyo Register