Extra support at Kings County high schools after crash left one teen dead, another injured

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A tough day on campus at two Hanford High Schools.

A crash Saturday morning took the life of a freshman from Hanford West and left a sophomore from Sierra Pacific badly injured.

School officials say this is an unimaginable tragedy for their district.

Balloons, flowers and stuffed animals covered a table in the center of campus at Hanford West High School.

It's where 14-year-old Marissa Cardona always sat for lunch.

Monday, classmates and teammates from her softball team gathered around to remember her.

RELATED: 14-year-old girl killed, 3 others injured in rollover crash in Fresno County

"We're allowing them to sit there, just take a moment and console each other and we're consoling them as well," said Hanford West Principal Katy Culver.

Those who knew her say Marissa was funny and intelligent, but was known for her softball skills.

She wore number two and played second base for the Dirt Dogs travel softball organization, as well as for her Hanford West High School team.

"She was going to be a star. She really was. She was going to burn bright. She was going to do amazing things," said Culver.

On Saturday morning, Marissa's mom, Leticia Cardona, was driving her to Clovis for a softball tournament with her Hanford West team.

At the same time, 35-year old Ashley Engen was taking her 15-year-old daughter, a sophomore at Sierra Pacific High School, to a swim meet in Clovis.

Investigators say, at Mt. Whitney and Cedar Avenues, Engen failed to stop at the stop sign and collided into the Cardonas.

Marissa Cardona did not survive the crash.

Engen, her 15-year old daughter and Leticia Cardona were all rushed to the hospital with major injuries.

The Hanford Joint Union High School District had extra support for students and staff on both high school campuses Monday.

"We are a relatively smaller community and so it does impact everyone. Any time students are involved, it just makes it extremely hard and difficult," said Sierra Pacific High School Principal Darin Parson.

A memorial at the crash site is growing for Marissa with messages to her saying "I love you", "I miss you", "Fly high."

On Thursday the entry fee will be waived for Hanford West's home softball game where the team plans to honor her.

"That way they can attend and that can be part of their grieving process as well and remembering her and all the amazing things she did both on the field and off the field," said Culver.

The softball team Marissa played for is raising money to help support her family during this time.

They are accepting donations through the following Cash App and Venmo names.

CashApp: $DirtDogsVazquez
Venmo: @Rocky-Cardona
Venmo: @Dirtdogs-Vazquez

There will also be a taco sale and Raffle on Thursday March 10 from 5-8 p.m. at Tilted Athletic Facility located at 700 N 11th Avenue in Hanford. Taco plates with beans and rice will be sold for $15 a plate. All proceeds will benefit the Cardona family.
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