5 Utah teens seriously injured when struck by suspected drunk driver in Anaheim, California

Stock image | Photo by Chalabala/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A crash in Southern California involving a suspected drunk driver injured five Utah teens late Friday night, including a recent graduate of Pine View High School who is in critical condition with severe brain injuries.

18-year-old Cristina Gaona of St. George was seriously injured in a crash in Southern California Friday night | Photo courtesy of the Gaona Family Relief Fund, St. George News

The crash was reported at the intersection of Orangewood and Manchester Avenue when dispatch began receiving a string of 911 calls “of a major injury collision,” a statement released by the Anaheim Police Department said.

The Utah teens were traveling in a Honda Fit at 11:45 p.m. Friday when they were struck by 24-year-old Leobardo Robledo of Anaheim who was traveling south on Manchester Avenue when he allegedly continued through the intersection on a red light, Anaheim authorities said.

After the initial impact, both vehicles then struck a utility pole, causing significant injuries to the occupants who were transported to local hospitals in stable condition, “except for the female passenger of the Honda who is in critical condition with potentially life-threatening injuries,” according to Anaheim Police.

The female, Cristina Gaona, recently graduated from Pine View High School, and was nearing the end of a vacation in Southern California when the crash took place.

Gaona, who was due to begin college in South Dakota on a full scholarship in two weeks, suffered severe brain injuries in the crash, according to family members. She has undergone three surgeries and “continues to fight for her life.” Fundraising efforts are underway to help the family.

Robledo was later arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs after allegedly triggering the crash, authorities say.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

This report is based on statements from police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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