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Two Southland Students Killed in Car Collision on Mexican Missionary Trip

From Associated Press

A Westmont College student missionary died Tuesday from injuries suffered in a head-on collision near Ensenada, Mexico, that had already claimed the life of another student, officials said. A third was critically injured.

Garth Weedman, 19, a freshman from Pacific Grove, died early Tuesday morning of head and internal injuries suffered Monday in an accident on Highway 1, which runs the length of Baja California.

Five Riding in Car

Five Westmont students were in the car, which collided with another containing an allegedly drunk driver. The students from the Santa Barbara college were doing missionary work over the Easter holidays, college officials said.

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Lisa Bebout, 24, a senior physical education major from Mission Viejo, was being tested for signs of brain activity, said a spokesman for Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego.

Alan Voorman, 22, a senior in economics and business from Upland, died several hours after the accident just north of Ensenada about 9 a.m. Monday.

“The description we have from people who saw it was that (Voorman’s) vehicle was like an accordion,” Ronald Cronk, Westmont’s vice president for finance and administration, told the Santa Barbara News Press.

Hospital spokesmen said Megan Carter, 19, a freshman from Pacific Grove was in good condition but will require plastic surgery.

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The fifth student, Patty Hallock, 18, a freshman from Woodland, was also in good condition Tuesday night. She suffered a broken leg.

Driver Is Detained

Mexican authorities said they detained Ruben Rodriguez Guzman, of Baja California, in connection with the accident. He remained unconscious from his injuries.

Guadalupe Lopez, a worker for the Baja state government, said Guzman was believed to have been “very, very drunk” when he was removed from the scene. He was being detained in the medical unit at the coroner’s office in Ensenada, pending a full investigation, she said.

Lost Control

California Highway Patrol spokesman Dave Robertson in San Diego said Guzman’s 1977 Chevrolet was apparently traveling north when he lost control of the car. It jumped the median and slammed head on into Voorman’s 1980 Toyota Corolla.

The students were among about 450 from the Christian college who were in Mexico to perform services for the poor. The college has been making the pilgrimage for 11 years; it includes repairing churches and orphanages and medical and dental treatment work with local pastors.


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