A teenage girl fell asleep at the wheel early Sunday and slammed into a tree in Martinez, killing her two passengers, officials said.
According to California Highway Patrol officers, the deadly single-car crash occurred just before 3 a.m. in the vicinity of Franklin Canyon and McHarry Ranch roads. A preliminary investigation shows that all three girls were residents of and attended high school in Martinez, they said.
Officer Ken Martin said that the driver was trying to "negotiate" a turn when she nodded off. The last thing she remembers, he said, was going 60 mph.
The Toyota Solara rammed into the tree on its passenger side, "sparing" the driver, according to Martin.
"With the airbag deployment and probably safety restraints that the driver had on, she was able to survive the collision," Martin said. "But unfortunately, just because of the severity, with the tree and the car impacted right there on the passenger side, they really didn’t stand a chance."
The driver sustained major injuries in the single car crash and was rushed to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, he said. An investigation is ongoing but drugs and alcohol do not appear to have caused the collision, according to Martin.
Paul Gengler, principal of College Park High School, where all three teenagers studied, sent a letter to parents Sunday, notifying them of the "sad and tragic news."
"Parents, please monitor your child the next few days and check in with them to see how they are feeling," he wrote. "We are saddened by this tragic event and together we will work through this difficult time."
The driver remains in critical condition, Gengler said, adding that grief counselors will be available to students.
Also on Sunday evening, the school's Associated Student Body group took to Twitter to express its condolences.
The post — which read, "Rest in peace Marley and Lauren. Our prayers go out to friends and family. We hope Kylie has a speedy recovery" — was then taken down.
A mass was held Sunday night at Christ the King Church in Pleasant Hill in remembrance of the victims.