GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) — Sorrow in the foothills after a drunk driver kills two high-school football players and injures a third.
It happened Sunday morning. The Nevada Union High students were heading to the coast for spring break when they were hit head-on. Monday, friends and family gathered at the high school in Grass Valley to mourn the loss.
“I didn’t really want to believe it,” said Nevada Union senior football player Jack Fraser.
Two stand-out students, so full of life. That’s how Nevada Union High School sophomore Justin Gardner and senior Tyler Nielson will be remembered best.
Their peers and coaches describe them as leaders on campus, funny, well-known and well-liked.
The 16- and 18-year-old football players were driving to Pismo
Beach Sunday morning when they were hit head-on just before noon by a 21-year-old woman accused of driving drunk.
“It’s pathetic; it’s actually pathetic. To take the futures away from two brilliant young men. I just don’t like thinking about it. It makes me angry,” said senior Owen Dal Bon.
Dal Bon is a teammate who was with Nielsen just hours before the accident.
“It just dropped a bomb on my whole world.”
It also dropped a bomb on the close-knit campus, where despite being closed for classes, students, staff, and parents gathered to grieve, including 16-year-old football player Dawson Faye, a third passenger who survived with serious injuries, including a fractured hip.
“They’re like my own kids,” said Varsity football coach Brad Dal Bon, “I woke up thinking this was all a dream.”
Respected role models and stellar athletes. Nielson was set to play football next year at Sierra College and Gardner would have been promoted from backup to star quarterback.
“He’s one of the most gifted athletes that probably has ever been to our school,” said Fraser.
Two bright futures cut short by one bad decision and a high school campus reeling in the aftermath.
“I love them, and I’m going to miss them,” said Dal Bon.
Authorities say the alleged drunk driver, Sabrina Distura, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and will be booked into jail once she’s released.