The toll taken by the fiery crash on U.S. 395 in August has increased, with a fourth victim succumbing to injuries.
The California Highway Patrol reported that John Nathan Adams, a popular coach with Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, died on Oct. 9 at Renown Medical Center in Reno after being taken off life support.
Officer Laura Roberts, public information officer for the CHP, said that the cause of death is listed as “multiple blunt force trauma and burns.”
A journal post written by his family on the Web site caringbridge.com said, “We did not arrive at this conclusion easily. We all know that John would have fought to the end and we, his family, are of the opinion that he has done so. His body fought so hard and he recovered from several injuries that even on their own would have each been life threatening. The damage to John’s brain is just too extensive to overcome.”
Adams, 39, from Cardiff, was a passenger in the southbound Ford SUV that, for as yet unknown reasons, veered off the road, rolled through the deep asphalt median and into oncoming northbound traffic, burst into flames and struck a Ford van head-on. The van was also filled with student-athletes – members of the California Baptist University cross-country team – headed in the opposite direction en route to Mammoth for high-altitude training.
The crash left three dead at the scene, including the driver of the van, Corona resident Wendy Suzanna Rice, a 35-year old cheer team leader for Cal Baptist; Olivenhain resident Amanda Post, 18, a passenger in the SUV; and 17-year-old Natalie Nield, the SUV’s driver from Carlsbad.
Adams was a private coach hired by the students and staff of the school to attend high-altitude training in Mammoth.
Bishop CHP Officer Dennis Cleland said the passing of Adams was “very unfortunate.”
Cleland added that two other passengers of the SUV are continuing their slow recoveries. Drew Constantine Dellis, 22, is recovering from third-degree burns and multiple body trauma and Derek Randall Thomas, 19, is recovering from third-degree burns over 85 percent of his body.
Those who lost their lives in the crash are receiving much deserved honors. Nield, for example, left an indelible impression on her friends and classmates, who built a house in her honor. Nield was president of the Cathedral Catholic Habitat for Humanity Club for her last two years of high school. The home was built on Thursday, Aug. 12, on what would have been Nield’s 18th birthday.