When Oakdale High School’s girls soccer players take the field this upcoming season, they’ll be wearing black armbands in honor of a fallen teammate, Giselle Evangelista.
“It’s a tough way to start the year,” said teacher and coach Grace Fernandes, who had Giselle as a player and P.E. student.
The 16-year-old and her father were killed and four others suffered minor injuries Tuesday evening in a head-on crash on Patterson Road east of Riverbank, the California Highway Patrol reported.
Fernandes said her players are “crushed” at the loss of their friend and teammate, who also ran track for OHS.
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“She was bubbly, fun to be around, just a great kid,” Fernandes said of Giselle. “Very loud — you always knew when she was in the room, but not in a bad way.”
A gofundme.com page set up for funeral expenses says the father and daughter were on their way home. “She was loving, kind, smart, beautiful and always full of happiness,” the story on the page reads. “Her father was battling cancer, they were both very close.”
The crash occurred shortly before 7:20 p.m., west of Langford Road. Driver Giselle and her father, Hector, 44, were westbound in a 2000 Toyota at about 40 to 45 mph. A woman and three children were eastbound in a 2014 Dodge at about the same speed.
Giselle crossed into the eastbound lane, then returned to her correct lane. “Then suddenly, for reasons still under investigation, the Toyota turned abruptly to the left and re-entered the eastbound lane, directly into the path of the Dodge,” according to the CHP collision report.
The driver of the Dodge, 32-year-old Marisela Wilkinson, was unable to react, and the vehicles struck head-on. The impact pushed the Toyota backward and into a ditch full of cattle waste runoff, the CHP said. It rolled onto the driver’s side, which became submerged.
Witnesses to the crash tried to rescue the Evangelistas, but were unable to because of the Toyota’s damage and position in the ditch. Fire and ambulance personnel pronounced the father and daughter dead at the scene. Giselle would have been an Oakdale High School junior this upcoming academic year.
Wilkinson’s passengers were Kylie Wilksonson, 11, Michael Wilkinson, 9, and Alexa Wilkinson, 6. All were taken by ambulance to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto for treatment.
All occupants of both vehicles were wearing seat belts, the CHP reported. It is not yet known if drugs or alcohol were contributing factors to the crash.
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