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Davis, California

Friday, February 23, 2024

Three UC Davis students killed in San Joaquin car crash

A series of crashes resulted in a head-on collision with the students’ car


By SONORA SLATER — campus@theaggie.org


Three of the four people who died in a series of crashes on Highway 99 in San Joaquin County on the morning of Friday, March 31 were UC Davis students, according to a recent press release

The crashes began with a black Honda Accord running into the back of a U-Haul truck near French Camp Road, causing the U-Haul to veer into a tractor-trailer. The Honda then turned and drove southbound on northbound lanes, hitting a black Subaru Impreza that three UC Davis students were in.

The Subaru veered to the side, sideswiping a black GMC Denali pickup truck, which did not cause any injuries. The Subaru eventually came to a stop facing southbound in a northbound lane before a black Chevrolet Suburban crashed into it head-on. 

The driver and the two passengers of the Subaru died on the scene, as did the 32-year-old driver of the Honda, who is suspected to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crashes, according to KCRA. The driver of the Chevrolet, 40-year-old Nicholas Craggs, was taken to a hospital with major injuries and was also believed to have been under the influence of alcohol during the crash. 

UC Davis received permission from the families to release the names of those who died, sharing them in a statement on April 3. According to the report, all of them lived in the residence halls last year: third-year electrical engineering major Minkyu Geon and fourth-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior major Codi Orland Mateo in Shasta Hall and second-year biological sciences major Margarette Guinto Ventura in Laben Hall.  

Ventura was also a member of the Girl Gains recreational weightlifting club on campus, and Mateo was part of the Filipinx Association for Health Careers.

“We are absolutely devastated and struggling to come to terms with such immense loss,” UC Davis Chancellor Gary May said in the release. “On behalf of the UC Davis community, we send our condolences to the family, friends and others who knew and loved them. Our Aggie family shares deeply in your pain and loss.”

The release went on to direct students and staff toward mental health resources to help them process the news, including Student Health and Counseling Services and the Academic and Staff Assistance Program


Written by: Sonora Slater — campus@theaggie.org