Jenna Santos and Natalie Griffin were driving back to Castro Valley from the Mendocino area when their car hydroplaned off Highway 101 and into a swollen creek near Willits that Wednesday night. Unfortunately, only Griffin survived.
Santos' best friend Griffin was in the passenger seat and she noticed a way to escape from the sinking car through a broken rear window.
"They were upside down and her friend was stuck and she tried to get her out, but couldn't so she got out and survived, but her friend didn't," Castro Valley High School student Kristina Galvin said.
Santos couldn't get out of the front seat of the sunken car, but Griffin survived by holding onto a tree for 12 hours in freezing water.
Then on Thursday morning, Griffin was able to swim to a bank where she pulled herself out of the water, hiked up a hill and flagged down someone passing by.
She told emergency crews where to find her best friend.
"She had so many dreams in life," Griffin said.
Santos planned to be a psychiatrist one day. At Castro Valley High School, she was a cheerleader with a lot of friends.
"She was so full of light and so energetic, there was nothing not to love about her," Santos' friend, Jessica Uhlenhop, said. "She never said one bad thing about anyone."
Click here to help Santos' family pay for funeral costs.