A 17-year-old Murrieta girl who was on her way home from her boyfriend’s graduation died in a crash late last week.
The crash occurred around 9 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of Winchester and Keller roads in an unincorporated area of Riverside County, according to the California Highway Patrol.
A GMC Sierra driven by a 30-year-old man apparently sideswiped a Nissan Titan driven by an 18-year-old man and carrying two teenage girls.
The impact caused major damage and the Sierra rolled over after the crash, according to the CHP.
The front passenger of the Titan, later identified as Giovanna “Gia” Rizzo, died from her injuries at the scene.
The driver, along with another passenger, were flown to a hospital with major injuries.
The driver of the Sierra was taken to a hospital with severe injuries.
The crash remains under investigation, but CHP Officer Mike Lassig said preliminary information indicated that the Sierra driver may have ran a red light at the intersection. No arrests have been made, however.
A GoFundMe page set up for the teen driver indicated that he was returning home from his graduation at Vista Murrieta High School with his sister and girlfriend when the crash occurred.
The driver, Gavin Hooper, suffered cuts and bruises as well as a fractured hand, while his sister, Landis Hooper, remains in the hospital with a severe brain injury.
“She is in a coma with pain management and in the care of neurological surgeons who are testing her daily for neurological progress,” the fundraising page reads. “The status is not day by day with an injury of this size – it is hour by hour.”
In a separate GoFundMe, Rizzo, who was a student at Liberty High School in Winchester, is described as having an interest in social work and had a promising future ahead.
“Gia was many amazing things including but not limited to sweet, funny, fiercely loyal, ‘wicked smaht,’ athletic, intelligent, loving, and she had a bright future,” the page read.
Funds raised through the page will go to Kids Court and Counseling Center, where Rizzo helped on a child abuse case, to “ensure her legacy lives on.”
Friends and loved ones on Monday stopped by a growing memorial for the teen at the scene of the crash.
Her friend, Bailey Honaker told KTLA Rizzo was a ray of sunshine even on the worst days.
“She was someone I trusted with everything,” Honaker said. “Life is so unfair, and knowing that such a horrible thing can happen to such a beautiful and happy person just baffles me. It’s just so heartbreaking that she’s not here anymore.”