“Tragic is an Understatement:” Gilroy Mourns Deaths of High School Students Killed in Suspected DUI

The Gilroy community has lost four high school students to fatal car accidents in five days, and the loss is unprecedented.

"Tragic is an understatement," said Gilroy Unified School District Supt. Deborah Flores. "In our history, that's never happened."

In the most recent spate of deaths, three 18-year-old students of the district were killed Tuesday in a suspected DUI crash on Leavesley  Road when the 1997 Mustang they were driving in crashed down a ravine. They were identified by the Santa Clara County Coroner as: Sara Williams, a senior at Christopher High School, and Yesenia Mendoza-Pena and Yolanda Ester Jimenez, both students at Mt. Madonna Continuation High School.

A fourth person in the Mustang was also killed: 24-year-old Joseph Danniel Vasquez-Flemate.

Sara's family sent an email statement to NBC Bay Area on Wednesday through a representative, as they were too bereft to speak.

"Sara was loved by so many," her family wrote. "She was beautiful, outgoing, and full of life.  The Williams family is humbled by the outpouring of support from those who loved Sara and at this time request privacy as they grieve this tragic loss."

The driver was the only one to have survived: 23-year-old  Anthony Imbronone III of Gilroy, who was arrested on charges of DUI and vehicular manslaughte. He was released to the San Jose Regional Medical Center to be treated for "major head trauma." Attempts to contact him and his family were unsuccessful.

The quadruple deaths come less than a week after another Christopher High School honors student and cheerleader was killed in a car crash.

Natalia Salcido, 15, the daughter of San Jose Fire Capt. Christopher Salcido, was a passenger in a car that crashed into a tree in the 6300 block of Miller Avenue in Gilroy about 10 p.m. Saturday. Two other teens in the car weren't hurt, but Natalia suffered major trauma and died at the hospital.

Dawn LaHue Guillen, a family friend of Natalia's who set up a GoFundMe site to pay for funeral expenses, said the death  has "rocked everybody to their very core. She was a shining light on the campus."

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