Six people remained in the hospital Wednesday — at least a few of them in critical condition — more than a day after a three-car crash south of Bishop killed three people, including a former Corona del Mar High School cheerleading coach.
Police are still investigating what caused the Monday night crash on Highway 395 that sent a southbound 2004 Ford Expedition SUV out of control and tumbling into traffic on the northbound lanes.
Wendy Rice, 35, who coached the cheer squad at Corona del Mar High School from 2001 to 2008, was driving northbound on the highway in a van that collided with the Expedition. Rice was killed along with two people in the Expedition, which caught fire, California Highway Patrol officials said.
"She was such an inspirational person to all of us," said Kaitlin Morrow, 22, who was part of Rice's first cheer squad at CdM. "She took what little of a cheer squad we had and made an amazing program out of it. She tried as hard as she could to make sure all of us were on the right path for wherever we wanted to be."
Rice was part of a three-van caravan carrying the California Baptist University cross-country team to the Mammoth mountains for training. She had been heading cheerleading program at Cal Baptist in Riverside since the fall of 2008.
The dozen others in Rice's van were all injured; most were minor injuries but three were serious. Rebecca Trupp, 20, of Riverside, and Alicia Catanese, 21, of Corona, remained in the hospital Wednesday. A third person from the van, whom CHP officials could not immediately identify, also remained hospitalized.
There were five people in the Expedition when it crashed aflame. Principal Mike Deely of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego posted a message on his school's website identifying the other two fatalities as school alumni Natalie Nield and Amanda Post.
Drew Delis, 22, and Derek Thomas, 19, from Encinitas and John Nathan Adams, 39, from Cardiff by the Sea, were in the vehicle during the crash and remain hospitalized. They were badly burned, authorities said.
One of the girls from the SUV managed to crawl out after the crash but collapsed on the highway and died moments later, CHP officials said. Investigators have not yet determined who was driving the SUV or why it crashed, said Stephen Webb, assistant chief for the CHP's Inland Division.