Pleasant Hill high school grieving loss of 2 teens killed in crash after driver fell asleep at wheel

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UPDATE: The school’s choir lifted spirits at the Golden State Warriors game Monday night, singing the National Anthem there.

Julia lost her cousin, Lauren, to the crash, but she said she will be giving it her all.

“I want to sing it kinda for her cause,” Julia said. “I know she would want me to be here. She knows how much I love to sing.”

And the choir will meet with Warriors players and coaches after the game, as a special gesture to the students who lost their classmates.

Heim’s sister has a GoFundMe page set up for her funeral.

PLEASANT HILL (KRON) — Students and staff at a Pleasant Hill high school are grieving Monday morning for two teens who were killed in a crash early Sunday morning in unincorporated Contra Costa County, school administrators said.

The county coroner’s office Monday identified the girls as Lauren Smith, 15, and Marlena Heim, 16. They were both from Martinez and attended College Park High School in Pleasant Hill.

Smith and Heim were passengers in a car that struck a tree shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday on Franklin Canyon Road just east of McHarry Ranch Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP officials said the driver, a 16-year-old girl from Pleasant Hill, suffered major injuries but survived the crash.

She was driving about 60 mph when she may have fallen asleep and veered off the road, CHP officials said. Drugs or alcohol are not expected to be a factor in the crash, according to the CHP.

CHP officials said it appeared the teens were wearing seatbelts. The injuries were apparently caused by the trajectory of the vehicle into the tree and the resulting impact forces, CHP officials said.

Paul Gengler, the school’s principal, said many are feeling their loss today.

“It’s a difficult situation for the 2,000-plus students here,” Gengler said. “To lose two of your fellow students in an unfortunate accident — it’s just traumatic.”

This morning, College Park High School and the Mt. Diablo Unified School District mobilized its staff of counselors and psychologists for the grieving process, Gengler said.

The staff will remain on hand as long as they are needed, he said.

The driver of the car involved in that accident is just 16 years old. Here are the laws which impose restrictions on those drivers.

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