Community mourning after a crash in Merced County kills Merced teacher and her son

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A devastating loss for a Merced school after a Tenaya Middle School teacher Windly Soza and her son were killed in a car crash. (KFSN)

A devastating loss for a Merced school after a Tenaya Middle School teacher Windly Soza and her son, a student at the school, were killed in a car crash on Highway 99 near Livingston.

"This is such a heartbreaking time for our district to lose a teacher and a student-- a mother and son. It's just a really devastating time right now," said Sara Sandrik, Merced City School District.

The California Highway Patrol said Soza and her 12-year-old son, Adrian, were driving south on Highway 99 when Soza veered off the road and crossed over the median. She then collided head-on with a car going north.
Trish Shelby, a colleague of Soza, said she met her when she used to work at Tenaya Middle School. She said Soza was going into her 13th year as a language arts teacher.

"It's a tragedy-- it's a tragedy-- sorry. It's a loss. It's terrible for the district and the family."

After school, some student's told us it was an emotional day with peers and teachers in tears.

"I was crying the most, cause she was my favorite teacher in that class," said Gabriel Martinez, 7th-grade student at Tenaya Middle.

"That same day, I was at the volleyball game and we were sharing a candy. I went home and went on the thing and heard she got in a severe accident," said Mateo Soriano, 8th-grade student at Tenaya Middle.

The CHP is still investigating into what caused Soza to veer off the road and the Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said he was one of the first on the scene when the tragedy happened.

"There's a lot of people that are going to be touched in a way with regard to this tragic day-- there's no other way to put it."

The district said it has postponed its back to school night scheduled for Thursday in wake of the deaths. They said all they need right now during this time of heartbreak is support. They also said there will be grief counselors on site to help students and staff during this emotional and heartbreaking time.

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traffic fatalitieshighway 99merced countymercedMerced
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