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March 20, 2023

Four GHS students remain hospitalized

– Four of the six Gilroy High School students involved in a
grizzly car accident Wednesday afternoon remained in the hospital
this morning, but it is believed all will make a full recovery.

It sounds like everybody should recover fine,

GHS Principal Bob Bravo said this morning.
GILROY – Four of the six Gilroy High School students involved in a grizzly car accident Wednesday afternoon remained in the hospital this morning, but it is believed all will make a full recovery.

“It sounds like everybody should recover fine,” GHS Principal Bob Bravo said this morning.

Tomas Gonzalez, a 17-year-old GHS junior and the most severely injured of the students, was in stable to good condition at Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto this morning. Gonzalez – the driver of the vehicle who was airlifted to SMC – underwent surgery Thursday afternoon to repair wounded arteries in his chest area. “Stable-good” condition is one grade above stable to fair, according to an SMC nurse.

GHS juniors Ana Isias, Jose Ruiz and Esther Ramirez all remained at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center this morning and are believed to be in good condition, according to Bravo. SCVMC would not release the status of the patients, but California Highway Patrol reports show they were being treated for a combination of broken bones, lacerations, bruises, body and head trauma.

Ricardo Diaz, a GHS junior, and Laura Eulloa were both treated and released from San Jose Medical Center with minor injuries, according to a SJMC spokeswoman.

The accident occurred at 2:20 p.m. Wednesday when Gonzalez drove his 1990 Honda Accord packed with his five friends off a twisting mountain road and down a steep embankment on Pole Line Road in Mount Madonna Park.

The impact knocked down a large tree that totally collapsed the front end of the car, but also might have saved the car from falling further down the 45-degree slope covered with loose foliage, according to emergency personnel on the scene.

Following the accident, one of the male passengers in the car made his way up the slippery hill, flagged down a nearby car for help and asked the driver to call 911. Emergency personnel from the California Department of Forestry arrived on the scene within 10 minutes, according to one witness.

Emergency workers struggled to transport some of the victims on stretchers from the totaled car up the slick slope to waiting ambulances. More than 10 workers had to use each other and a thick wire anchored to a tree on the side of the road for leverage.

The highway patrol does not believe alcohol was involved in the crash, but Gonzalez will be ticketed for driving without a license or insurance, said CHP Investigating Officer Thomas O’Kefe. Gonzalez was the only passenger wearing a seatbelt.

“They were going at least five miles over the speed limit – 25 in a 20 – and it looks like the driver was just making an unsafe turn and lost control,” O’Keefe said.

All six of the accident victims are English as a second language learners, and at least two of the three boys were having a hard time attending classes lately, said Jose Hernandez, the school’s Latinos Programs Advisor.

The accident did occur during school hours, and it is likely that the students were skipping class, Bravo said.

“All I can say is that it was a school day,” Bravo said. “They should’ve been in class.”

Gonzalez comes from a family of migrant farm workers who live in rural South County. He came to Gilroy High School last year and has been described as a “good kid” by Hernandez.

District students had today and Thursday off as in-service days, and will return to classes on Monday.

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