SHINGLE SPRINGS (CBS13) — A Ponderosa High School student in Shingle Springs is being remembered after the California Highway Patrol says she drove off the road and hit a tree.
The CHP says she was driving on Ponderosa Road Wednesday morning, just south of Carpenter Lane when the crash happened.
She’s being identified by family as Hope Bist, a junior at Ponderosa High.
Bist was on her way to school this morning, when she ran off the road, and drove through a fence, then crashed head-on into a tree.
Friends and family describe Bist as athletic and popular at school.
The community is shocked by the tragedy.
“Hope was a very close friend to me for the last seven years,” said Alicia Diaz crying.
Diaz is in complete shock. She can’t understand how her friend of seven years, and her softball teammate, is gone.
“She wanted to do her best for everybody, she wanted to be close to everybody the whole school is affected by this loss,” Diaz added.
Just last week, Diaz and Bist were at their junior prom. Diaz says she and Bist never missed a high-school dance.
The tragedy is hitting Diaz’s younger sister even harder.
“It just doesn’t feel real at all,” cried Alexis Diaz.
She played golf with Bist for Ponderosa High. She learned about the fatal crash right before her final exam.
“She was supposed to be in my Spanish class today, we were supposed to take our final together,” cried Diaz.
According to the CHP, Bist was driving on Ponderosa Road and was on her way to school just after 6 a.m., when she slid off the road and went head-on with a tree. Her SUV caught fire while she was still inside.
“It’s very tragic, we are just beside ourselves with grief,” said Bist’s uncle Donn Veenhuis.
Bist’s aunt and uncle can’t fathom the loss. Speaking on behalf of the family, they say Bist was a selfless girl, who was popular in school and around her community.
“She was her mother’s best friend, they were very close,” Veenhuis added.
Veenhuis says it’s been rough for the Bist family. Bist’s father is battling cancer and wanted to see his daughter graduate next year. She was the baby of the family.
Loved ones huddle around the site where she spent her last moments, her memory lives on in their hearts.
“She was a loving person, a very loving person,” said Bist’s aunt tearfully.
The tragedy comes just two days before the last day of school and graduation.