Pacific Union College students and faculty today are mourning the deaths of four students in a crash late Saturday night in northern Napa County.
The loss of the four men is particularly painful for the school because its community is so close-knit; more than 1,100 of the 1,400 students at the Seventh-day Adventist liberal arts college live on campus, chaplain Roy Ice said this morning.
"It's widely felt. They had a large network of friends. It will be somber all week," Ice said. "This shows the preciousness of life."
"There is this sense that we do everything together that's greater than on a larger campus. The students knew them," Ice said.
The college, located 70 miles north of San Francisco, was founded in 1882 and has a 13:1 student-teacher ratio.
The students died in the crash are Luke Kotaro Nishikawa, 22, of Honolulu, Hawaii; Boaz Joshua Pak, 20, of Hidden Valley; Chong Whon Shin, 20, of Aloha, Ore.; and Simon Chulmin Son, 19, of Hidden Valley.
The four were killed when their 2003 Honda Civic slid sideways and collided broadside with a 1993 Toyota T-100 pickup on Deer Park Road around 11:45 p.m. All four were pronounced dead at the scene.
The California Highway Patrol said Pak, the driver, was speeding west on Deer Park Road east of Silverado Trail and allowed the Honda to cross double yellow lines.
The driver of the Toyota was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with major injuries and is in stable condition. The driver of a 1993 Honda Civic that also struck the Toyota pickup was not injured but was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
The four PUC students had been playing basketball at the school gym and were driving to get food at the Safeway store about 8 miles away in St. Helena when the accident occurred.
The college will hold a memorial service Thursday at 10 a.m. during the weekly colloquy in the college church.
"It will be a celebration of life," Ice said.
Shin and Nishikawa were very involved in campus ministries, Ice said. Nishikawa participated in the campus outreach program Homeless Ministries in which participants visited with the homeless in People's Park in Berkeley about twice a month, Ice said.
"They would talk with them and sometimes bring guitars," Ice said. "They also would bring food, including spaghetti," Ice said.
Shin was active in the Rohnert Park Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ice said.
All four men lived in the Newton Hall dormitory, which has been hit especially hard by the loss of the students and where counseling services are now available 24 hours, Ice said.
Edna Hernandez, the Student Association's social vice president, said all four men were members of the Korean Adventist Student Association. Pak, Son and Shin were Korean and Nishikawa was Japanese, she said.
Shin and Pak were juniors, Son was a sophomore and Nishikawa was a "super senior" in his fifth year at the school, Hernandez said.
Hernandez said she was closest to Shin because he tutored her in accounting.
"He taught me everything I needed to know. He was a sweet person and very helpful," she said.
Teachers have allowed students today to speak about the four students in class, Hernandez said. "Everyone is taking it very slow and very easy," said.
In a statement on the college's Web site, PUC President Richard Osborne said, "Our entire campus is grieving along with their families. But as a faith-based college, we have hope that springs from our beliefs as we celebrate all these young men accomplished in their brief lives."