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Funeral Services Pending For Three Killed

Funeral services were pending today for three women, including California Baptist University cheer coach Wendy Rice, who died in a fiery three-vehicle crash on the Sierra Nevada eastside south of Bishop.

People mourned Tuesday on two Southland campuses, at Cal Baptist in Riverside and at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego.

Of the four people believed to be in critical condition today, one was a member of Cal Baptist cross country team who suffered severe head injuries in the crash Monday night on Highway 395.

Also killed in the crash about five miles south of Bishop were Natalie Nield and Amanda Paige Post, who were mourned by more than 200 students, teachers, parents, friends and alumni who gathered to say rosary and pray for them at Cathedral Catholic on Tuesday, Principal Mike Deely said.

Drew Delis, 22, and Derek Thomas, 19, both of Encinitas and Cathedral Catholic graduates, remained hospitalized. The fifth person in their vehicle had not been identified as of early today.

Three Ford vans carrying members of the Cal Baptist cross-country team were heading north when the crash occurred on Highway 395 about 8:20 p.m. Monday, California Highway Patrol Officer Dennis Cleland said.

The 2004 Ford Expedition with four Cathedral Catholic grads on board was headed south when it veered onto the shoulder, then back across the center diver and into northbound lanes, where it struck one of the Cal Baptist vans and burst into flames, according to the CHP.

Following the initial crash, the driver of a 2000 Subaru Legacy, a 19- year-old Ashland, Ore., woman, struck the burning SUV. She suffered third- degree burns and complained of pain in her left arm, according to the CHP.

A dozen people in the Cal Baptist van suffered minor to serious injuries, according to the CHP.

An Inyo County sheriff’s deputy who came upon the scene pulled a man from the burning SUV, but he was unable to go back to help a second occupant who was screaming for help because of the intensity of the flames.

Another person who had been on fire and ejected from the Ford SUV walked past the deputy and died in the fast lane, Cleland said.

An investigation of the cause of the crash had not been completed as of early today.

Vans carried Cal Baptist cross country runners back to Riverside from Mammoth late Tuesday, where they were reunited with families and friends, the Press-Enterprise reported.

More than 100 people gathered outside the university’s gym to welcome the team back, according to the newspaper. When the three vans pulled up shortly after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, the crowd began applauding and hugging the students as they got out, the Press-Enterprise reported.

Bishop is about 250 miles north of Riverside, in Inyo County.

KESQ News Team

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