Funeral services pending for two Cathedral Catholic grads

Another woman killed, two other CCHS grads injured in crash near Mammoth

By City News Service

Funeral services were pending Wednesday for three women, including two graduates of Cathedral Catholic High School, who died in a fiery three-vehicle crash on the Sierra Nevada eastside south of Bishop.

People mourned Tuesday on two Southland campuses, at Cathedral Catholic in San Diego and at California Baptist University in Riverside.

Of the four people believed to be in critical condition Wednesday, two were also graduates Cathedral Catholic and a third was riding in the vehicle that burst into flames in the crash Monday night on Highway 395.

Killed in the crash about five miles south of Bishop were Natalie Nield and Amanda Paige Post, who were mourned by more than 200 students, teachers, parents, friends and alumni who gathered to say rosary and pray for them at Cathedral Catholic on Tuesday, Principal Mike Deely said.

Post and Nield were honor roll students and members of the Cathedral cross country and track teams, while Thomas also earned honors and played football and rugby. All of them graduated in June.

Post won a scholarship from San Diego County Ford Dealers and was the Spring MVP Female Athlete of the Year for track and field. Natalie Nield won the Spirit of the Don award for cross country.

A Facebook page posted in memory of Post and Nield read: “we know youre still running in heaven. two best girls around. Blessed so many peoples lives with your presences from beasting it running to being the nicest people around.”

Drew Delis, 22, and Derek Thomas, 19, both of Encinitas and Cathedral Catholic graduates, remained hospitalized. The fifth person in their vehicle had not been identified as of early Wednesday.

Also killed in the crash was Wendy Rice, 35, a Cal Baptist cheerleading coach, mother of two children and resident of Corona.

Three Ford vans carrying members of the Cal Baptist cross-country team were heading north when the crash occurred on Highway 395 about 8:20 p.m. Monday, California Highway Patrol Officer Dennis Cleland said.

The 2004 Ford Expedition with four Cathedral Catholic grads on board was headed south when it veered onto the shoulder, then back across the center divider and into northbound lanes, where it struck one of the Cal Baptist vans and burst into flames, according to the CHP.

Following the initial crash, the driver of a 2000 Subaru Legacy, a 19- year-old Ashland, Ore., woman, struck the burning SUV. She suffered third-degree burns and complained of pain in her left arm, according to the CHP.

A dozen people in the Cal Baptist van suffered minor to serious injuries, according to the CHP.

An Inyo County sheriff’s deputy who came upon the scene pulled a man from the burning SUV, but he was unable to go back to help a second occupant who was screaming for help because of the intensity of the flames.

Another person who had been on fire and ejected from the Ford SUV walked past the deputy and died in the fast lane, Cleland said.

An investigation of the cause of the crash had not been completed as of early Wednesday.

Bishop is about 325 miles north of San Diego, in Inyo County.