California Baptist University coach killed in crash

Car crash claims life of CBU cheer coach and two others; injures 12 student-athletes.

Kathryn Watson, Writer

A California Baptist University cheerleading coach was killed and a dozen cross country team members were injured Monday when their van was hit by an out of control SUV on Highway 395 near Bishop, Calif.

The fatal accident occurred at about 8:20 p.m. as the van, along with two others, was carrying CBU athletes to a high altitude training camp in Mammoth, Calif. According to the California Highway Patrol, the SUV crashed through the center divider of the four-lane highway and burst into flames upon colliding with the van. Two people in the SUV were also killed and several more injured.

Wendy Rice, who was driving the van which was hit, was beginning her fourth year as the cheer coach at CBU and is survived by her husband Jason and their two young children.

“We’re still working to meet the needs of students who were affected,” said Mark Wyatt, vice president for marketing and communications at CBU.

Wyatt said university administrators are at each of the hospitals where approximately five students are still being treated in Mammoth, Calif., Riverside, Calif., and Reno, Nevada. The students are reported to be in stable condition.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic event,” said CBU President Ronald Ellis in a news release on the school’s website. “We have lost a beloved member of our CBU family…Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones in this terrible accident and with those who were injured. We pray for their speedy and complete recovery.”

Wyatt said particulars for an on-campus memorial service would likely be addressed Wednesday afternoon. It is likely a memorial service will occur before the start of school on Sept. 1.

The California Highway Patrol is still investigating the cause of the crash.

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