Four Napa Valley college students were killed late Saturday night in St. Helena. The crash involved a head-on collision with three separate vehicles. Two drivers were charged with drinking and driving, according to the California Highway Patrol. The crash occurred 11:50 p.m. on Deer Park Road near Sanitarium Road just north of St. Helena.
The victims, four young men, all attended Pacific Union College, a Seventh-day Adventist liberal arts college in Angwin. They were Boaz Pak, 20, Luke Nishikawa, 22, Simon Son, 19, and Chong Shin, 20, a college spokeswoman said Sunday.
According to friends of the students, the four men had just finished playing basketball at the college’s gym and were on their way to the local grocery store prior to the accident.
CHP Sgt. Trent Cross said the four students were headed west when the driver lost control of a speeding black Honda Civic, crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with a Toyota T100 pickup truck in the rear-end. Pak, Nishikawa, Son and Shin were all pronounced dead at the scene, Cross said.
The driver of the pickup truck, 28-year-old Sandallo Martinez, was critically injured and airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
Both Martinez as well as the driver of the white Honda Civic, 20-year-old Carlos Ortiz, appeared to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, according to Sgt. Cross.
Ortiz, who suffered only minor injuries, was arrested for drunken driving. Martinez, who remained at the hospital Sunday, was also facing DUI charges, said Cross. He also mentioned high speed was also a contributing factor.
All 4 of the young men were well liked on campus and involved in outreach. Shin, Pak, and Nishikawa were all very involved in youth ministry at the Rohnert Park Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church. Earlier that morning, Son was involved in of a campus outreach program called Homeless Ministries, where he had gone to the bay area with a group of students to feed the homeless.
“The PUC community mourns the loss of four wonderful young men who were already giving service back to the community,” Pacific Union College President Richard Osborn 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.”
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