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.
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.
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.
Miners football, Nevada County, and the world lost 2 good ones today. Senior Tyler Nielson and sophomore Justin Gardner lost their lives in a tragic accident on their way to Pismo Beach for spring break. Their car was struck by a drunk driver. We’ll need everyone’s magic tonight.
— Nevada Union Ftbl (@NUminermagic) March 26, 2018
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