UPDATE: 2 Nevada Union High School students die in car wreck, authorities say | TheUnion.com

UPDATE: 2 Nevada Union High School students die in car wreck, authorities say

UPDATE at 6 a.m. Tuesday, March 27:

For more coverage on this story.

San Jose woman accused in crash that killed two Nevada Union students, injured third

Nevada Union family grieves deaths of two students in DUI collision

HEARTS OF GOLD: Tyler Nielson, Justin Gardner represented their families, community and school with great skill and grace

UPDATE at 3 p.m. Monday, March 26:

A San Jose woman accused in the wreck that led to the deaths of two Nevada Union High School students remained Monday in a Modesto hospital, the California Highway Patrol said.

Sabrina Distura, 21, will face at least a charge of felony DUI. Authorities are examining additional charges, including vehicular homicide, said Officer Shannon Stiers, public information officer with the Los Banos CHP.

"I'm just waiting for the DA information to come back," Stiers said.

According to Stiers, Tyler Nielson, 17, and Justin Gardner, 16, died Sunday after a wreck on Interstate 5, north of Highway 165. Distura was driving a 2015 Honda north when she crossed into the dirt median and then into oncoming traffic.

"Sabrina lost control, went into the center divide and went head-on with the other vehicle," Stiers said.

Driving a Nissan, Nielson suffered major head trauma and was killed, Stiers said. The Merced County Sheriff's Office pronounced him dead at 12:38 p.m. Sunday, said Deputy Daryl Allen, public information officer.

Gardner, sitting behind Nielson, also had head trauma. An air ambulance took him to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, where he died around 4 p.m. Sunday, Stiers said.

An autopsy was scheduled Monday for both teens. No cause or manner of death has been determined, Allen said.

Dawson Fay, 16, was in the front passenger seat of Nielson's vehicle, Stiers said. Kelly Rhoden, principal of Nevada Union, said in an email that Fay suffered a broken hip.

Stiers said Distura was taken to Memorial Hospital Los Banos with minor injuries. She was transferred to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto at some point.

An officer remains with Distura at the hospital. Authorities will take her into custody once she's released, and book her into the Merced County Jail, Stiers said.

Initially posted:

Nevada Union High School students Tyler Nielson and Justin Gardner died Sunday in a car wreck south of Sacramento, a high school administrator said.

Nielson was driving when an apparent drunk driver collided with his vehicle, killing him. Gardner was life-flighted to a Modesto hospital, where he died, said Paul Lundberg, principal of Colfax High School and a former assistant principal at Nevada Union.

A third Nevada Union student is in the hospital and is expected to recover, Lundberg added.

"We are all devastated as both were close to many at the two schools," Lundberg said.

Nevada Union Principal Kelly Rhoden said Sunday night that she’s speaking with families. She declined to give specifics.

"It’s been a whirlwind of a day, a tragic day," she said.


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From an email:

Good Morning Miner Families, this is Principal Kelly Rhoden.

It is with great sadness to report the loss of 2 of our students over this Spring Break. Tyler Nielson and Justin Gardner’s lives were both lost in a car accident earlier Sunday morning when a drunk driver crossed the center line and hit them head-on as they traveled with family to Pismo Beach. Tyler’s life was lost at the scene and Justin passed later at the hospital. Dawson Fay was in the same vehicle and has a broken hip but is ok.

With the help of our staff at NU and Nevada County Superintendent of Schools, we have put together a support group of counselors to help us deal with these losses for the return to school on Monday, April 2, 2018. In the meantime, I know we have groups of students that gathered at the NUHS last night and will again today. We do have staff on hand to open the Ali gym and our Crisis Team made up of school counselors and community counselors will be on site for our students, staff, and school community that need help in processing this tragedy.

This is a huge loss to our Miner family. Let us all keep the families in our hearts and thoughts as they deal with this horrific loss. My deepest sympathy goes out to all of you.

Kelly Rhoden, Principal