Four Pacific Union college students were killed late Saturday night when their car collided with an oncoming pickup truck north of St. Helena, this according to the California Highway Patrol. I drive this road every time I travel to my mom’s house in Hidden Valley Lake, a small town where two of the victims lived.
From the Press Democrat:
The students died at the scene of the accident on Deer Park Road, just a few miles south of their campus, a Christian liberal arts school.
The four left campus shortly before midnight. According to the college, the students had just finished playing basketball at the gym and were on their way to the Safeway in St. Helena to grab something to eat when the accident occurred.
They were identified as Luke Kotaro Nishikawa, 22, of Hawaii; Chong Whon Shin, 20, of Aloha, Ore.; and Boaz Joshua Pak, 20, and Simon Chulmin Son, 19, both of the Ventura County community of Hidden Valley.
Officials said all the young men were well known and liked on campus.
The driver of the pickup truck, Sandalio Martinez, 28, was taken by ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in serious condition. He was in serious but stable condition Sunday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
A third driver rear-ended Matinez’s pickup after the initial collision. That driver Rio Ortiz, 20, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
“It’s a real hard time,” said Doug Wilson, director of student activities at Pacific Union College, a Christian liberal arts school in Angwin, a town built around the college.
Hundreds of students, faculty, staff and community members – along with the families of two of the victims – gathered at 5 p.m. in the Seventh-day Adventist church on campus to mourn the four young men.
The students were killed Saturday night when their speeding car skidded out of control and collided with a pickup truck north of St. Helena. They were identified as the driver, Boaz Joshua Pak, 20, from Hidden Valley Lake and passengers Luke Kotaro Nishikawa, 22, from Honolulu; Chong Whon Shin, 20, from Aloha, Ore.; and Simon Chulmin Son, 19, from Hidden Valley Lake. Friends said the students had just finished playing pickup basketball at the college gym and were on their way to a Safeway in St. Helena to get something to eat when the accident occurred about 11:45 p.m.
The men were apparently well-known and liked on campus. Shin was involved in youth ministry at the Rohnert Park Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church. Nishikawa was the leader of a campus outreach program called Homeless Ministries, and had been out working with homeless people early Saturday morning.
The Pacific Union College community “mourns the loss of four wonderful young men who were already giving service back to the community,” said college President Richard Osborn. “Our entire campus is grieving along with their families.”
The accident took place about 5 miles from the 150-acre Pacific Union College campus at the bottom of Deer Park Road, the winding, two-lane road that heads down the mountain into St. Helena on the floor of Napa Valley. The drive is a regular one for on-campus students.