LIVERMORE — A Livermore High School student was killed and five classmates were hurt when a pickup truck they were riding in crashed 200 feet down an embankment in an unincorporated area near Livermore, authorities said Saturday.
Hundreds of people held a candlelight vigil Saturday night at Livermore High to remember Hunter Diemert and pray for the recovery of the other victims.
The crash occurred just before 11:30 p.m. Friday on Del Valle Road, between Mines and Mendenhall roads. Livermore Valley Joint Unified School Superintendent Kelly Bowers made the announcement to parents in an email.
"No words can express our collective sadness and grief at this tragic news," Bowers said. "Our hearts go out to this young man's loved ones and our entire school community."
Alameda County firefighters said first responders from several agencies responded to the crash. Four of the victims were taken to hospitals in ambulances. Two were flown by helicopter. Rescuers had to remove one of the teens from the mangled truck.
The victims were taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley and John Muir Health Walnut Creek Medical Center. Their injuries ranged from minor to major, California Highway Patrol Officer Tyler Hahn said.
The cause of the crash was under investigation but Hahn said speed might have been a factor.
"For an unknown reason, the vehicle left the roadway and rolled multiple times down a steep embankment," Hahn said. "Seat belt use is still under investigation as multiple passengers were ejected from the vehicle."
Anyone who witnessed the crash was asked to call the CHP's Dublin office at 925-828-0466.
In her email, Bowers said the district was mobilizing crisis support teams for staff and students.
"We are all understandably grieving this tragic loss of young life," Bowers said. "In this difficult aftermath, we are sending hope and strength for a full recovery to our other injured students involved and their families. As always, during periods of crisis and trauma, our school district and entire Livermore community will pull together, comfort and support each other."
The scenic area where the crash occurred is popular among young people. Residents complained in June about hundreds of cars pouring into the area for a weekend "sideshow." Some drivers performed driving stunts like "doughnuts" and some raced. There was at least one crash.
Before July 4, Alameda County sheriff’s deputies increased their presence in the area, issued tickets to drivers, and admitted the county needed to fund more officers to increase the number of patrol cars assigned to the roads.
Authorities did not immediately identify the student who was killed, but family and friends identified Diemert during the vigil.
"Great teammate, and a great kid," stated Livermore Wrestling Club on Facebook. "He was always fun to be around."
Bowers called the crash “a somber reminder of just how precious life is.”
“We take this time to ask for your continued assistance and commitment to keeping our young people safe and sound, in our schools as well as throughout our city," Bowers wrote.