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Community mourns teen’s death

Investigation: Vasquez High sophomore, 15, walking along Highway 14 likely committed suicide, author

Posted: April 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Several grief counselors and psychologists were sent to Vasquez High School on Monday to console friends of a 15-year-old student who was struck and killed by a car on Highway 14 early Sunday, district officials said.

Samantha Rocha-Dyer, a sophomore, was a “model” student who stayed out of trouble at school, Acton-Agua Dulce School District Superintendent Brent Woodward said.

District officials began assembling a crisis intervention team Sunday as news of Rocha-Dyer’s death spread quickly in the rural community, he said.

As the school’s mascot, Rocha-Dyer dressed in a mustang costume to entertain students at school events.

“(Samantha) is a bright young lady,” Woodward said. “She is a very involved student. By 10 a.m. (Sunday), pretty much the whole community knew what had happened.”

Samantha’s mother, Deborah Jauregui-Rocha, a member of the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District board, was “distraught,” he said.

“Obviously, she is a vital member of this community, and she has broad support from people who are attempting to (assist) her,” Woodward said.

California Highway Patrol officers said Monday that investigators are determining whether to classify Rocha-Dyer’s death a suicide.

Rocha-Dyer was walking along the northbound shoulder of Highway 14 just north of Santiago Road at 12:42 a.m. when she walked into the path of a 2007 Mazda sport compact car that was traveling about 64 miles per hour, said Officer Jennifer Connolly.

The driver, Marc Zuber, of Palmdale, stopped his car and attempted to help the teenager, Connolly said. Zuber was not cited by CHP officers, according to past reports.

“He couldn’t avoid it,” Connolly said.

Paramedics arrived about 15 minutes after the collision and attempted to resuscitate the teen. Rocha-Dyer was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of the injuries she had sustained.


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