Victim Burned in Tragic Van Crash Improves

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Inside the chapel at Cathedral Catholic High School, there was tremendous grief for two young graduates, Amanda Post and Natalie Nield killed Monday night when the SUV they were riding in crossed into oncoming lanes on highway 395 near Bishop. (Published Wednesday, Aug 11, 2010)

    One of the local victims badly burned in a van crash that killed three people and injured 16 others is improving, according to hospital officials.

    22-year-old Drew Delis of Encinitas was listed in fair condition Wednesday and has stable vital signs, a hospital spokesperson in Bakersfield said.

    "It Just Breaks Your Heart"

    [DGO] "It Just Breaks Your Heart"
    Inside the chapel at Cathedral Catholic High School, there was tremendous grief for two young graduates, Amanda Post and Natalie Nield killed Monday night when the SUV they were riding in crossed into oncoming lanes on highway 395 near Bishop. (Published Wednesday, Aug 11, 2010)

    Delis was in a sport utility vehicle with Amanda Post, Natalie Nield and two others when the Ford Expedition went out of control Monday night south of Bishop near the eastern Sierra Nevada.

    The Expedition swerved into oncoming traffic on Highway 395 and slammed into a van carrying 13 people from a California Baptist University cross-country team. 

    Post and Nield were killed. Post’s boyfriend, Derek Thomas, 19, suffered severe burns to most of his body. Dellis and local trainer John Adams were also severely burned.

    On Wednesday, friends held a memorial run for Post and Nield.

    “They had their whole lives in front of them. Both of them worked extremely hard to get to the point where they were going to start their college careers and they deserve so much,” said head cross county and track coach Dan Geiger. “Two of the nicest girls you would ever want to meet.”

    “They were staples of our team and I don’t think we can do without them,” said Nicholas Grubiss, who is going into his junior year.

    The chapel at Cathedral Catholic High School was packed with hundreds of people Tuesday night praying and thinking of the victims.

    "You could feel the sadness from everybody, it just breaks your heart," said Erin Winters.  The La Costa High School student didn't know the victims but felt compelled to come to the service. "It really hits home, really makes you stop and think about life and how fragile that it is."

    Post and Nield were remembered by friends as smart, fun and loving students who were members of Cathedral Catholic High's cross country and track teams.

    "It is such a bad tragedy, I just couldn't believe it," said Nicole Barabi who was friends with Post.

    Another friend said the group had gone to Mammoth for high altitude training and lessons in coaching before the crash.

    CHP investigators are still trying to determine exactly why the Expedition swerved into oncoming traffic. Neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to have played a role in the accident.

    The high school is bringing in counselors Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the accident with students.