A La Jolla High School student is hospitalized after she and two friends were involved in a collision on Interstate 10 on the way to Coachella last week.
Sixteen-year-old Manuela Cerciello-Rahbari was in the front seat of her friend’s BMW Thursday when the vehicle veered off of Interstate 10 and hit a tree near Banning.
Cerciello-Rahbari’s cousin and best friend Ginevra Gallone-Latte, a one-time La Jolla High School student, was riding in the back of the BMW and was ejected. Gallone-Latte was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cerciello-Rahbari’s family has been by her side since the moment they learned of the accident. The teenager is in a coma with serious spinal and brain injuries, though, so the best they can do is offer prayer and positive energy.
They know that when Cerciello-Rahbari wakes up, they’ll have to deliver the unfortunate news that her best friend is no longer alive.
Eva Cerciello, Manuela’s mom, told NBC 7 that moment won’t be the first time the family has had to share devastating news.
Just four years ago, Cerciello almost lost her son in an eerily similar crash. He spent months in a coma and fought through organ failure and neurological damage.
“Still today my son is doing therapy,” Cerciello said.
Now, with her niece gone and daughter’s uncertain future, she’s ready to be a warrior once again.
“If I'm not strong then who is going to be strong? I need to be there to give my daughter the strength. She needs to see me strong so she can be strong,” Cerciello said.
Doctors are unsure whether Cerciello-Rahbari will ever walk or talk again.
It took Cerciello's son more than six months to leave the hospital after his accident, so Cerciello knows she has a long and expensive road ahead.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with medical bills.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the crash that killed Gallone-Latte and injured the driver as well as Cerciello-Rahbari.