CHINO HILLS, Calif. - Two soccer coaches from a Chino Hills high school were among four people killed in a crash near the Desert Center area.
Matt Hodges, 30, was the head coach of the varsity girls' soccer team at Ayala High School, and Gabby Constante was the assistant coach of the team.
Both coaches and two other people were killed Monday afternoon in a head-on collision between the car they were in, a 2012 Toyota Corolla, and a 1999 Freightliner big rig on Highway 177 about 20 miles north of Desert Center in Riverside County.
According to preliminary information from the California Highway Patrol, the Corolla was traveling southbound on Highway 177 when Hodges, the driver, veered into the northbound lane and collided head-on with the big rig.
The group was coming home from a Memorial Day trip to a lake in Parker, Arizona. The two coaches were also dating.
Hodges was transported to Desert Regional Medical Center, where he later died. Constante and two unidentified women from Murrieta were pronounced dead at the scene. The other victims were identified as 20-year-old Melissa Garnica and 21-year-old Jessica Gilardo, both of Murrieta.
The big-rig driver was a 55-year-old Afton resident, according to CHP officials. Authorities said he did not appear to be injured in the wreck.
The cause of the crash was under investigation.
News of the coaches comes just one day before the high school's graduation ceremony. The coaches were being honored during Tuesday's graduation rehearsal.
"I just came from practice and I've seen a lot of ups and downs with our soccer players, but there's quite a few eyes that are keeping an extra eye on them today at practice," said Ayala High School Athletic Director Warren Reed.
Hodges was the head coach for the school's varsity team for at least four years, and Constante was the assistant coach for two years. Both were also coaches for a club team called "Legends."
A private vigil was held at noon on the campus.