Irvine High School Student Killed in DUI Crash

Marie Johnson was killed in a rollover-DUI car accident at Silverado. Six others were injured. Her friends said that she wasn’t supposed to be in the car, but her phone died when she tried to call someone else to pick her up.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the young high school student was part of a group that was heading eastbound on East Santiago Canyon road towards Silverado Canyon Road just before 2 a.m. Monday to an area called Black Star Canyon.

Johnson, 16-years-old, was a passenger in a Honda Civic that was speeding around the dark canyon. The driver lost control of the vehicle that was traveling at speeds above 70 miles per hour, Johnson was ejected, and the car rolled over before coming to a stop.

That same night another vehicle of friends was in a rollover accident as well and all of its occupants were injured. Those inside alleged that they swerved in an attempt to avoid hitting an animal.

Johnson had just flown into California from a family trip to Hawaii on Sunday night and decided to spend some time with friends.

“I talked to her mom and sisters, and they were very devastated. Everyone was crying,” Jason Liebrand, a family friend who has known Johnson since middle school told reporters.

Investigators believe that the driver of the vehicle, 19-year-old Antonio Escamilla was drinking before the crash, CHP Officer Todd Kovaletz said. A box with a cans of beer was found at the scene.

Emergency officials took Escamilla to Western Medical Center Santa Ana. He incurred major injuries in the car accident. Officials say that he will be charged with felony DUI and felony vehicular manslaughter. He graduated from Irvine High School last year.

Johnson was set to start classes at Irvine High School Tuesday as a junior, according to school officials.

The school district planned to have counselors on hand at the start of classes to help students cope with the death of a fellow schoolmate.

“We want to provide a safe place for students where they can go and share their feelings and talk it out, and just be able to process some of these emotions” Ian Hannaigan of the Irvine Unified School District told reporters.

This will be the second time counselors are available on campus. Last May they showed up was after the tragic death of four Irvine High School students and one University High School student who died in a fiery crash. The car that the teens were in slammed into a tree, split in two and burst into flames.

Drinking and driving is not a good idea. Don’t do it.

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