Trabuco Hills Student Dies From Crash Injuries

Coroner confirms the Wednesday death of Kiana Yazdihan, 16, of Rancho Santa Margarita. She was one of five injured in the Melinda Road crash.

A photo of Kiana Yazdihan, on a poster at the Wednesday vigil at the crash site. The coroner confirmed she had died earlier in the day. Photo/Martin Henderson
A photo of Kiana Yazdihan, on a poster at the Wednesday vigil at the crash site. The coroner confirmed she had died earlier in the day. Photo/Martin Henderson

By Martin Henderson

Kiana Yazdihan, a 16-year-old from Rancho Santa Margarita who was injured in a single-vehicle automobile crash on Saturday, has died, the coroner confirmed Thursday.

Kiana, a junior at Trabuco Hills High in Mission Viejo, was one of four passengers in the car. All five female occupants went to area hospitals following the crash on Melinda Road at Paseo Alegria in which the Mercedes Benz C230 they were driving went off the road and crashed into trees.

The Orange County Coroner said Kiana died Wednesday, 10 a.m. She had been removed from life support by her parents. 

"Kiana was a beautiful, loving, caring, funny, amazing person that made everybody laugh and smile," said Sage Campa, a friend since they were in the seventh grade together. 

The 19-year-old driver of the car is a Trabuco Hills graduate. The other four occupants of the car are Trabuco Hills students. 

Craig Collins, the school's principal, said grief counselors were on hand Monday, but many of those most affected by the crash didn't show up to school. "They already knew about it because of social media," he said. 

Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Lt. Jeff Hallock said speed was believed to have been a factor in the crash. The driver headed southbound on Melinda Road, toward Santa Margarita Parkway, but was unable to negotiate a right-hand bend in the road. The vehicle crossed two lanes of oncoming traffic, a sidewalk, and then plowed up an embankment. It crashed through one tree before hitting a second tree and coming to a stop. The road was slick because of rain earlier in the day.

Kiana and the other most seriously injured occupant were in the backseat but apparently not wearing seat belts. They were taken to Mission Hospital in critical condition. Two others suffered moderate injuries and the fifth suffered mild injuries, according to authorities.

Lt. Brian Schmutz, chief of police services in Rancho Santa Margarita, said it has been several years since there was an auto fatality in the city.

Every two years in the spring, Trabuco Hills has a program on campus for juniors and seniors called Every 15 Minutes, which is a mock DUI accident—based on a true-life event in San Juan Capistrano—involving students on their way home from prom. Collins, recognizing a teachable moment, said the program in May is likely to be very emotional, and the school would likely work Saturday's tragedy into it in some fashion. 

"We're a school, we're all about learning, and hopefully we'll take away some lessons from this, about speed when you drive, and who you get in the car with," Collins said. "No matter who you're driving with you have to focus on them being careful drivers."

Collins also said the school was allowing the students to memorialize Kiana in their own ways "because it's more genuine." 

The basketball team, for example, decided to wear purple shoelaces for Friday's game against Aliso Niguel because purple was Kiana's favorite color. 

A Wednesday night vigil at the crash site, near the entrance to the Cortesia Apartments, was organized by teens and attended by about 200 people.  

"The kids we talked to said it was very nice, very well done, very genuine," Collins said. 

"We really feel for the family. It's going to impact all the families, even the ones not seriously injured. We're concerned about all of them because there's a lot of grief involved."
Sharon Thompson December 13, 2013 at 10:37 AM
My heart aches for Kiana's family. Prayers are for them all to find peace and comfort in their beliefs. Words are difficult to find when a tragedy like this occurs. I ask God to surround them with His love.
Lawrence (Larry) McCook December 13, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Yes, this tragic accident is extremely sad! It seems that every 2-3 years there is a fatal traffic accident involving RSM high school students. May God grant comfort to the families of these girls.
Karina Meisinger December 13, 2013 at 02:46 PM
My prayers go to the family. My cousin was friends with Kiana. Youth in RSM need to take this as a lesson and understand that this could have easily happened to them. Always wear a seat belt and encourage everyone to do so!!!
Brandon Wolfe December 13, 2013 at 04:46 PM
So Sad and could have been Avoided .There are pictures of drug use floating around all the local high schools that shows at least one of them took Acid on the tounge as if she was showing off about getting high just 20 minutes before the accident happend..I do not know if they all were high or if it was a joke but the picture is real I have seen it on my sons phone as the screenshot is very popular as sad as it is
Robbie-Ann Oliveira December 13, 2013 at 06:01 PM
My heart goes out to all the famlies and friends effected by this tragedy. Please slow down and wear your seat belts, dont drive your car unless everyone has them on..May she rest in peace and may the sister pull through..
Michelle A December 14, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Prayers, teens please know this can happen to you. Slow down, enjoy life but don't be so foolish to think taking drugs is the cool thing to do. Yeah, real cool...such a shame. Learn from this.
wendy December 17, 2013 at 06:52 PM
Praying for the families...so very sad.. May God comfort the broken hearted & hold them close..as so many grieve their loss. Amen


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