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Chico State student killed, two others hurt in crash

By Colin Steiner, csteiner@krcrtv.com
Published On: Jan 26 2014 03:59:35 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 27 2014 02:42:17 AM CST
CHICO, Calif. -

A Chico State University student is dead and two others suffered major injuries after a crash early Sunday morning in Chico.

According to the CHP, Diego Arriaga-Rodriguez, 18, of Chico, was driving a 1998 BMW westbound on Bidwell Avenue when he failed to negotiate a curve just before 12:45 a.m.

The car went off the road and overturned into a creek bed, coming within about 3-5 feet of the water.

Arriaga-Rodriguez and one of his passengers, Bryant Mata, 19, were taken to Enloe Medical Center.

Another passenger, Austin Silver, 20, who is originally from Simi Valley, was pronounced dead at the scene with severe head trauma.

KRCR caught up with Silver's roommates when they visited the scene this morning.

Roommate Barry Hawkins says Silver was the most unlikely victim of an accident like this.

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

All three people in the car had to be extricated.

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

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

According to Hawkins, Silver was a sophomore at Chico State and Arriaga-Rodriguez and Mata were freshman.

Chico State Public Affairs Director Joe Wills texted a statement to KRCR that reads:

"Terribly sad news -- our thoughts and prayers go out to Austin Silver's family, and we have let our counseling staff know so they can meet with students coping with this tragedy. When we have more information we will pass it along, including health status of our other injured students--we also send them and their families our thoughts and prayers."