WEAVERVILLE, Calif. - The community Weaverville is mourning the loss of one of their own. 22-year-old Priya Sandhu died Tuesday night after the car she was driving pulled in front of a Trinity Transit Bus at the Moon Lee rest area.
Friends that knew her said Sandhu was living with her family, working two jobs and going to school.
Erica Bermejo counts herself as one of those friends. She went to high school with Sandhu and they worked together at Tops Market in Weaverville.
"It was really sad. I didn't believe it at first," said Bermejo. She said Wednesday morning was surreal when she went into work and saw Sandhu's name on the schedule, knowing that she was not coming in.
"Saturday was the last day I talked with her and it's just hard to believe I'm never going to see her again," said Bermejo.
Sandhu was described as always happy and the sweetest person anyone could meet. It was a sentiment shared among much of the community. Several people dropped off cards and flowers to her second job, the Weaverville Market, which her parents own.
Halei Case shops often at the market and dropped off flowers as soon as she heard the news. "We talked a lot. She was always very sweet, super funny. She's definitely going to be missed. She worked two jobs and went to school, and was just unbelievably smart. She deserved to live a lot longer," said Case.
According to Case, Sandhu had just finished classes at Shasta College earlier this year and wanted to be a nurse. Bermejo said that was the perfect example of her nurturing character.
"That's Priya. She always put everyone first before her. She made sure everyone was okay before her," said Bermejo.
Sandhu's mother, 50-year-old Baldish Kaur Sandhu and 16-year-old sister were also in the car at the time of the crash. Both were taken to Mercy Medical Center in Redding for their injuries.
Three of the seven passengers on the bus were injured, including 55-year-old Joseph Gilbert Jones of Douglas City and two minors from Lewiston.
Sergeant Adam Battle with the Trinity River Area of the California Highway Patrol said the crash was the most notable fatality the department has seen in a while.
Since 2010 there have been a total of 17 fatal crashes on Highway 299, between the Trinity-Humboldt county line to the Redding city limits.
Battle said he typically responds to crashes involving deer or bear, or drivers not obeying the posted speed limit. He added these incident are not just people driving through the area or big rig traffic, but the locals as well.
"As of right now, from what we have seen there's nothing to think any other reason, other than specifically inattention and failing to make sure and look both ways before you make a left turn onto a roadway," said Battle.
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