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USU student among 4 killed in California crash

FILE"” A Utah State University student was among four people killed in a head-on collision between a car and a semitrailer on a two-lane desert highway over Memorial Day weekend.
FILE"” A Utah State University student was among four people killed in a head-on collision between a car and a semitrailer on a two-lane desert highway over Memorial Day weekend.
Adobe Stock photo

LOGAN — A Utah State University student was among four people killed in a head-on collision between a car and a semitrailer on a two-lane desert highway over Memorial Day weekend.

The California Highway Patrol says the crash occurred Monday afternoon on state Route 177 near Joshua Tree National Park.

The CHP says three people died at the scene, and the fourth was pronounced dead at a Palm Springs hospital.

School district officials said Tuesday that Matt Hodges, 30, and Gabrielle Constante, 20, both coaches at Ayala High School in Chino Hills, were killed. Two of their former players, Marissa Garnica, 20, and Jessica Giraldo, 21, were also killed.

Regan Eggli, president of USU's Alpha Chi Omega sorority, said Garnica was a student at the school and a sister in the organization.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Marissa's family and friends, as well as the loved ones of the other individuals who lost their lives in this tragic accident," Eggli said. "Marissa was incredibly loved and will be missed immensely. She was a person who wasn't afraid to be herself and spiced up life for everyone around her."

The Murrieta Valley Unified School District says the three women were best friends from childhood.