May 21, 2012
By Doug Oakley
Bay Area News Group
UC Berkeley officials identified the young woman who died in a car crash Friday morning as 22-year-old Milanca Alicia Lopez, a student of social welfare who recently was admitted to UCLA graduate school.
Lopez was pronounced dead at the scene, where the Cadillac she was travelling in hit a tree about 1:15 a.m. Friday at California Street and Allston Way police said.
Lopez' son, 6-year-old Xavier, remains in critical condition, said Alice Jordan, a coordinator of the Student Parent Association for Recruitment and Development at UC Berkeley who knew Lopez.
The man driving the Cadillac has not been identified but also remains in the hospital, police said.
Berkeley police have not released information on how fast the car might have been going, if the passengers were wearing seat belts or if alcohol or drugs were involved. There were no skid marks in front of the badly damaged tree the car hit.
"She was very beloved here and very active in our student-parent community," Jordan said. "She was a mentor to school age kids at an elementary school in Oakland and was the past president of the student parent association."
Friends and family held a vigil at the corner of California Street and Allston Way on Sunday evening. Mourners left flowers, photos and messages attached to the badly damaged tree. One photo showed Lopez and her son in matching graduation outfits that was taken at UC Berkeley's Chicano Latino graduation ceremony May 12, Jordan said.
"She came in as a freshman with her son, so they had been here four or five years," Jordan said. "She was a wonderful mom and bright student. She tutored everyone, the parents and their kids, in math. She originally was going to be a math major."
Marty Takimoto, communications director for the UC Berkeley residential and student programs, said Lopez lived in student housing at the University Village in Albany.
Doug Oakley covers Berkeley. Contact him at 510-843-1408. Follow him at Twitter.com/douglasoakley.