Flags at both College of the Canyons campuses are flying at half-staff today in honor of two young students killed in a violent crash on Interstate 5 in Commerce over the weekend.
Both Michelle Littlefield, 19, and Brian Lewandowski, 18, were enrolled in four classes at COC, according to Chancellor Dianne G. Van Hook. Littlefield was an accounting major and Lewandowski was studying computer science.
“All of us at College of the Canyons are grieving their loss. Their deaths leave a void on our campus, in the classrooms and among their friends,” Van Hook wrote in a campus-wide email message.
“I know Brian and Michelle will be greatly missed by their teachers and classmates, who will remember the relationships they had with these bright, caring, and committed students. And I know they will be inspired by the moments and memories Brian and Michelle created and shared for others as they worked hard to be the best people they could be,” Van Hook wrote.
Littlefield and Lewandowski were on their way home to Santa Clarita from Disneyland late Friday night when a UPS truck was struck by a street racer and then flipped over the freeway’s center median and crashed into them head-on.
Twenty-one-year-old Anthony “Tony” Miramontes, was in a coma after the crash, according to Van Hook. He is being treated at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood.
“While we mourn the loss of Brian and Michelle, we join their families in supporting Tony’s recovery,” Van Hook wrote. “We wish him the best, and hope that he can rejoin his friends and classmates at College of the Canyons as soon as possible.”
Lewandowski was the son of a homicide lieutenant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, which said on behalf of the family: “Brian was an incredible young man and every parent’s dream for a son. We are absolutely devastated by our loss. Our hearts go out to the other victims and their families and our prayers are for the survivors’ recovery. We are very thankful for the love and support of family and friends throughout this time.”
Littlefield’s father told NBC News: “I’m sorry this happened to both of us. We would never want any of this. Michelle would be disappointed she was killed. But she would never hold any ill will.”
Van Hook said counselors will be available in the Student Health Center to talk with any students, faculty and staff members who have been touched personally by the tragedy.
The center will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Valencia Campus, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Canyon Country Campus.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to those who cared for and loved these two amazing young people, especially their parents,” Van Hook wrote. “We are better because they shared them with us.”