Three people were killed and more than a dozen were injured in a three-vehicle crash involving California Baptist University of Riverside athletes and coaches on a highway south of Bishop, officials said today.
Three Ford vans carrying members of the Cal Baptist cross-country team were heading northbound, in a line, one after the other, when the crash occurred five miles south of Bishop at 8:24 p.m. Monday, California Highway Patrol Officer Dennis Cleland said.
Wendy Rice, a Cal Baptist cheerleading coach and Corona resident, was one of those killed in the collision on Highway 395, according to Mark Wyatt, Cal Baptist’s vice president for marketing and communication.
A Ford sport utility vehicle heading southbound on the highway veered onto the center diver and into northbound lanes, where it struck one of the Cal Baptist vans and burst into flames, Cleland said. The driver of a Subaru then struck the burning SUV.
Two people in the SUV were killed, but their names were withheld until their relatives could be notified. Three other occupants suffered third-degree burns.
A dozen people on the Cal Baptist van suffered minor to serious injuries, according to the CHP.
The Cal Baptist cross-country team was headed to Mammoth for pre-season high-altitude training, according to the Cal Baptist website.
Bishop is about 290 miles north of Los Angeles, in Inyo County.
Rice, a mother of two, was in her second season as a coach at the university and had volunteered to help drive the cross-country team to the training site, according to the school.
Rice previously coached at Glendora High School, Centennial High in Corona and Corona Del Mar High, according to her bio page on the Cal Baptist website. At Glendora High, she led cheerleading squads to seven straight national finals, according to her bio.