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Fullerton crash kills two teens

May 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Friends and family are in shock and mourning after a crash leaves two teenagers dead and a third injured. Police believe alcohol and speed were both major factors.Investigators say there's evidence the young people in the pickup may have been drinking before the deadly crash. It happened early Monday morning in Fullerton, on Coyote Hills Drive west of Gilbert Street.

This crash happened at 2:30 a.m., but the wreckage was cleared away Monday afternoon. It was sitting up on an embankment. This crash, according to police, could've been prevented. They suspect that it was a mix of drinking and driving and speeding.

"After seeing this car crash it's, it's pretty hard," said a friend of the victims, Gerardo Rojo.

Dozens of friends gather to comfort each other after getting word of what happened.

"None of us could believe it when we were in school, he died," said Sina Farzad, a friend of the victims. "Whoa, it hit me pretty hard."

The early morning accident had just one survivor: The 19-year-old driver, Jared Berggren. Police say his two passengers, Jacquelyn Ardalan from La Habra, and Miles Christensen from Fullerton, both 19 years old, died at the scene, after being ejected from the truck.

"It's very sad," said parent Minerva Almanza. "It's very devastating to the parents. Can you imagine Mother's Day and having to lose a child?"

Police suspect alcohol was involved.

"There may have been a group of people down at the cul-de-sac here maybe doing some drinking," said Sgt. Mike MacDonald, Fullerton Police Dept. "We located some bottles of beer and such down in the cul-de-sac."

Police allege the truck was speeding before it lost control and hit a tree. The impact ripped off the roof.

"First thing I think about is my two kids, my daughter and son, which are pretty close to the same age," said parent Harry Price. "My son knew these people too."

Friends say Christensen, the male passenger who died, played football at Sunny Hills High School. He graduated last year.

"He was just those type of guys who just wanted to have fun," said Gerardo Rojo. "Always had a smile on his face."

As police investigate, the driver now faces vehicular manslaughter charges, while others mourn the loss of two teenagers.

"It makes me want to cry because I have sons and I remind them every day when they go out: Don't drink and drive," said Minerava Almanza.

The two teens that died Monday brings the total to five people killed in the past four weeks in Fullerton in crashes where authorities believe that alcohol played a factor. Last month Nick Adenhart, the Angels rookie pitcher, along with two of his friends, was killed in a crash where police suspect the driver had been drinking.

The driver in Monday's wreckage is in the hospital. Police say that he is in stable condition. Once he's released from the hospital he will be taken into custody and he is facing two counts of vehicular manslaughter.

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