In the wake of a tragic car accident that killed UCSB third-year students Angela Nguyen and Jonathan Kendall, the couple’s family and friends are coming together in both Santa Barbara and San Jose to grieve.
The accident occurred Jan. 6 in East Bay when 20-year-old Monterey Park resident Kevan Chu, who was driving the vehicle the two were in, lost control. The van skidded through the oncoming lane of traffic and veered off the road before crashing into a tree and bursting into flames, a California Highway Patrol press release stated. Chu and two other passengers survived the accident, but sustained injuries.
Friends of 21-year-old Nguyen and her boyfriend, 19-year-old Kendall, have created a “Jonathan and Angela Memorial” group on Facebook as a means of connection, sharing pictures of the couple and coordinating efforts to create an on-campus memorial for the pair. Nguyen was a psychology major and Kendall was a business economics major.
A visitation for Nguyen and Kendall will be held today from 1 to 9 p.m., on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Oak Hill Memorial Park in San Jose, Assistant to the Dean of Students Candace Stevenson said. A joint funeral service will then be held at Oak Hill Memorial on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Third-year women’s studies and sociology major Megan Carroll said planning for a Santa Barbara memorial remains in the early stages.
“We are still trying to figure out what to do,” Carroll said. “We really just want other people who knew them to come together and share memories and laugh. Angela would just want us to dance and laugh and be dorky together.”
Members of the UCSB rugby team, of which Kendall was a member, are active participants in the memorial group. Fourth-year biopsychology major Cole Valadez expressed his regret at seeing a fun team player pass away.
“Kendall was greatly respected and adored by the team,” Valadez said. “He was fun-loving, he had a huge heart and he was very diligent. Our team is deeply saddened.”
Samantha Robinson, a third-year UC Berkeley student who sustained injuries during the car accident, said she was close friends with Nguyen and her boyfriend.
“Angela was the kind of person who would never forget a name; that’s why I loved her most,” Robinson said. “She was a really good friend. They were very much in love. They seemed like an unlikely couple to some people, but they worked together so well. They were very happy.”
CHP Spokesman Scott Yox said Chu could face charges of vehicular manslaughter pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.
“The investigation can take quite some time,” Yox said. “In this case in particular, we will have a very difficult vehicle inspection because the car was completely engulfed in flames.”
Stevenson said that any students struggling with the deaths should make an appointment with the staff at Counseling Services, the number for which is (805) 893-4411.