5 teens from St. George area injured after California crash with alleged drunk driver

Southern Utah

ST. GEORGE (ABC4 News) – Five teenagers from the St. George area were injured after police say they were hit by a drunk driver while on a trip to Anaheim, California late Friday night.

ABC4’s Katie Karalis met with family members and friends of the victims, who said the weekend was supposed to be a fun trip to Southern California before many of them went off to college.

As of Tuesday, three of them remain in the hospital, with two in critical condition, according to the Diaz and Gaona families.

Anaheim Police said 24-year-old Leobardo Robledo of Anaheim ran a red light in his 2019 Honda Fit, t-boning the teens’ 2014 Chevy sedan just before midnight on Friday.

Both vehicles struck a utility pole after the collision, causing major damage to both cars and injuring all of the occupants.

18-year-old Christina Gaona remains fighting for her life with a severe brain injury and multiple fractures. Gaona was just two weeks away from attending Black Hills University in South Dakota with a full-ride scholarship to play soccer. A GoFundMe page has been set up for Gaona.

“She’s a fighter. She’s worked really hard for her scholarship and a lot of the kids on the soccer teams look up to her as a mentor,” Melodie Hardy, a friend of the Gaona family, said. “It’s devastating, absolutely devastating.”

Shadrach “Shad” Diaz, 18, remains in the hospital “fighting for his life” with broken ribs and damage to his lungs, liver, esophagus, including a punctured kidney. A GoFundMe page was also set up for Diaz.

“He took the brunt of the hit and his whole diaphragm including his stomach was shifted upwards towards his ribs, breaking his ribs,” said Yulma Diaz, Shad’s aunt.

“Seeing him in that state, you do think, oh my god, what if they don’t make it? What are we going to do? You have to block out those thoughts,” Diaz added.

Kai Burke was another one of the victims who remains in the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery, according to Diaz.

As of Monday Robeldo was still in the hospital and had not yet been booked into jail.

“The driver doesn’t realize how many lives he ruined,” Diaz said. “On top of all these kids’ lives, it just branches out to his families’ lives, his mom, if he had kids we don’t know.”

A car wash and bake sale fundraiser for the Gaona family will be held on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Tacos el Monchis in St George.

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