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COC football player in critical condition

Posted: August 25, 2014 3:07 p.m.
Updated: August 25, 2014 3:07 p.m.

A College of the Canyons football player involved in a two-vehicle crash in Sylmar that killed two of his teammates remained in critical condition Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Eldridge Salguero, 18, of Van Nuys was in the intensive care unit of Providence Holy Cross Medical Center with his family by his side, according to hospital sources.

Salguero was driving a 2005 Nissan 300z southbound on San Fernando Road Friday evening with fellow players Isaiah Hastings, 19, of Lancaster and Alexander Manu, 18, of Reseda riding in the car with him.

Salguero apparently lost control of the vehicle, which swerved into the northbound lanes near Sunshine Canyon Road and collided with a silver 2013 Honda Odyssey van, investigators said.

Hastings and Manu died in the crash. Minor injuries were suffered by the two occupants of the van.

COC’s football team was given the news Saturday, second-year COC football player Vincent Strange said Monday. He says practice was canceled Saturday.

“The team was off all weekend. They’ll resume practice today,” College of the Canyons spokesman Eric Harnish said Monday. “Coach has closed practice today (to the media). They want to focus on being together as a team.”

COC head football coach Ted Iacenda said during the weekend that the team had come together in a unique way over the summer and was devastated by the tragedy.

Knowledge of and reactions to the crash varied on COC’s Valencia campus Monday, the first day of classes for the fall 2014 semester. Many students hadn’t met the three players involved, who were preparing for their first semester at COC after all graduating from Birmingham Community Charter High School in Van Nuys.

“The accident has hit the football team the hardest,” Harnish said. “The players were in their first year at COC, and with classes starting today they hadn’t gotten into the semester fully.”

Ivette Arana, 33, a COC student, knew there was a crash Friday night. She knew it involved football players. She didn’t, however, know where they were from.

“They were from here?” she said, gasping when told the players killed were from COC. “What happened?”

Favian Mazariegos, 18, of Northridge heard about the crash through Twitter. Another student said he read about it online. One hadn’t heard about it at all.

But the crash hit close to home with Strange, who regularly carpools to practice with two other players.

“It can happen to anyone on the team,” Strange said.




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