3 John Burroughs HS grads dead, 2 injured after truck goes down Santa Clarita canyon

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) -- Three graduates from John Burroughs High School died and two others were injured Friday after their truck went down a canyon in the Santa Clarita area.

A sheriff's official said the group had been four-wheeling in the canyon when the red 2001 Chevy truck went off the road and went down about 200 feet sometime between midnight and 2 a.m. at Sierra Highway and Rush Canyon. A survivor wasn't able to call for help until about 7:30 a.m.

Jake Gnasso, Ian Bulbenko and April Townsend, all 19, were killed in the accident. Two other 19-year-old males were airlifted with serious injuries.

Several hundred people gathered in front of John Burroughs High School in Burbank Friday night for an emotional vigil.

"All of them were a big part of high school for a lot of us," said friend Dominick Matas. "Just to think that they'll never grace a stage, or lighting booth or a sound booth again is hard to imagine."

Through tears and hugs, the school community mourned the loss and celebrated the former students' accomplishments. Gnasso was known for his beautiful voice; Bulbenko for his tech savy; and Townsend for her beautiful smile.

Last September, five teens from Burbank and John Burroughs high schools were killed in another violent crash.

Like that accident authorities are investigating if drugs or alcohol maybe have played a role in this latest crash.

The two 19-year-old men who survived the crash remained in the hospital Friday night with moderate injuries. They are expected to make a full recovery.

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