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1 dead, 2 remain in critical condition after alleged DUI crash

Published On: Jan 27 2014 08:19:19 PM CST
Austin Silver, 20

Austin Silver, 20

CHICO, Calif. -

One Chico State student is dead and two others remain in critical condition Monday after the car they were in rolled over in Chico.

Austin Silver, 20, originally from Simi Valley, was pronounced dead at the scene with severe head trauma. He was a passenger in the vehicle.

The driver, 18-year-old Diego Arriaga-Rodriguez, and the other passenger, 19-year-old Bryant Mata, were taken to Enloe Medical Center to be treated for major injuries after the alleged DUI crash.

According to hospital officials the two teens were still in critical condition as of Monday afternoon and were being treated in the hospital's trauma ward.

Mata and Arriaga-Rodriguez are second-semester freshmen at Chico State, according to University Public Affairs and Publications Director Joe Wills. Wills said Mata declared as a Biology major, and Arriaga-Rodriguez was enrolled in the Mechatronic Engineering program.

Silver was a sophomore at Chico State and was declared as a Music Industry and Technology major.

The crash happened Sunday around 12:30 a.m. on Bidwell Avenue.

Arriaga-Rodriguez, of Chico, was driving a 1998 BMW westbound on Bidwell Avenue when he failed to negotiate a curve, according to the California Highway Patrol. The car went off the road and overturned into a creek bed, coming to rest within about three to five feet of the water.

KRCR spoke with Silver's roommates when they visited the scene late Sunday morning. One said he was stunned that this could have happened.

"He was the safest person we knew, usually," said roommate Barry Hawkins. "He was always telling people to slow down and stuff, and never really did anything like that. He never drove fast, you know. He was always the one to tell everybody to be safe and stuff. So it's just terrible."

All three people in the car had to be extricated from the vehicle.

Police said Arriaga-Rodriguez was found to be driving under the influence and was formally arrested at the scene. He was then released to Enloe to be treated. It is not clear what charges he could be facing.

Neighbors said vehicles often speed along the quiet road and the turn where the crashed happened can be deceptive because of a gravel shoulder.