Student at GHS dies in wreck

Erin Slatter, 12, Julia Patereau, 7, and Alexi Slattery, also 7,

Gilroy
– A 17-year-old Gilroy teen died in a single-vehicle accident
after her car collided with a host of apricot trees in an orchard
off Fairview Road near Hollister in the early morning hours Sunday,
according to the California Highway Patrol.
By Lori Stuenkel

Gilroy – A 17-year-old Gilroy teen died in a single-vehicle accident after her car collided with a host of apricot trees in an orchard off Fairview Road near Hollister in the early morning hours Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Monique Llanos, who was not wearing her seat belt at the time of the collision, was thrown from her 1996 Land Rover after she drove off the road and her car overturned in the middle of the apricot orchard on Fairview Road north of Comstock Road about 5am Sunday, according to the CHP.

She was flown by CALSTAR to Stanford Medical Center with massive head injuries, but later died. Her passenger, a 15-year-old female from Gilroy who is not being named because she is a juvenile, was wearing her seat belt and suffered only a minor cut to her hand, according to police.

Llanos, who on Friday finished her junior year at Gilroy High School, was driving northbound on Fairview Road at an unknown rate of speed when she misjudged a turn in the road, overcorrected and ran off the road into the orchard, according to police.

Her car hit numerous apricot trees and overturned. It is unknown where she was traveling from or to, but alcohol is not a factor in the crash, according to CHP Officer Teri Neidigh.

Further information about the crash, which is pending investigation, was not available at press time.

Neighbors of Llanos chatted in the shade Monday afternoon and recalled the outgoing and friendly girl who could often be seen completing one home improvement project or another, either on her own home or on a neighbor’s.

“She was a tough girl,” said Leticia Moreno, who lives across the street and said Llanos often played with neighborhood children. “She did everything herself.”

Llanos’ grandmother said her granddaughter would trim hedges or climb on the roof because hard work was in her nature. At 14, Llanos fibbed about her age so she could get a job, Martha Valle said.

“She would say, ‘I don’t know why other kids waste their time. I want to work.’ She was my only granddaughter and I would buy her whatever, but she loved having a job,” Valle said.

An only child, Llanos loved caring for her two dogs, who would obey her commands, Valle said. She used to dream of becoming a veterinarian, but recently thought she might go into real estate, according to her grandmother. She was planning to attend a four-year college after graduating from GHS next year.

Llanos also was an avid sports fan. She used to play for the high school basketball team, but more often than not spent afternoons shooting hoops in the street in front of the house she shared with her mother, Frances Llanos.

“She was really good,” said Guillermo Cervantes, her 12-year-old neighbor and friend.

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