Sahel Jasmine Heydari, 19, died in a car accident on Dec. 10 while returning to her home in Cupertino, Calif. from Santa Barbara.
Heydari, a UCen employee, was driving northbound on Highway 101 in a 2005 Infinity G35 with her high school friend Alyssa Dawn Williams, 18, who sustained moderate injuries from the crash. According to a news release issued by the California Highway Patrol, the highway area had been subject to heavy rain when Heydari lost control of the vehicle north of San Miguel. The car spun clockwise and slid across the right shoulder into a steel light pole near the N. Mission Street on-ramp. Heydari sustained fatal injuries from the impact and was pronounced dead on the scene by San Luis Obispo Ambulance paramedics.
As of press time, conflicting reports from officials make it unclear whether or not Heydari was a registered UCSB student at the time of her death. While the Templeton area California Highway Patrol confirmed that Heydari was returning home on Dec. 10 following the completion of her finals at a college in the Santa Barbara area and University Center administration verified that she was an employee at the UCen Bookstore, officials at UCSB’s Office of the Registrar stated that Heydari was registered as a UCSB student only during summer 2009.
According to police reports, no evidence of alcohol appeared to be involved in the crash and both Heydari and Williams were using seatbelts. However, officials reported that speed and worn tires may have contributed to the disaster. Williams, who was seated in the front seat that had an airbag deploy, was transported to Twin Cities Hospital for mild abdominal pain.
Andrew Rubino, who worked with Sahel at the UCen Bookstore, said he will miss his friend.
“She was a very sweet girl with a good sense of humor,” Rubino, a third-year English major, said. “She was really one of those great people who are just nice to everyone.”