3 GCU students died in a car crash: What happened? Explained

3 GCU students died in a car crash: What happened? Explained

GCU students car crash: Three Phoenix college freshmen were killed after their vehicle was struck by a wrong-way driver on a highway, authorities said Monday. Let’s see what happened in detail.


What happened?

Four vehicles were involved in the collision after the wrong-way driver traveling southbound hit the car of GCU students traveling northbound.

Daisy Mountain Fire and Medical said a total of four people were taken to the hospital, and three people needed to be extricated from their vehicles

The Arizona Department of Public Safety told local news outlets they received reports around 4 a.m. Monday about a driver going the wrong way on Interstate 17, roughly 30 miles (48.28 kilometers) north of Phoenix.

The wrong-way car was traveling southbound in northbound lanes. It crashed into three vehicles.

One of those vehicles was carrying three Grand Canyon University students who were also suitemates. Two of them died at the scene. The third was taken to the hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

What did the university say?

The university confirms the death of 3 students via their Facebook page by saying,

It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we share with you that three GCU students passed away this morning after a collision involving a wrong-way driver. The three GCU students – Abriauna Hoffman, Hunter Balberdi and Magdalyn “Maggie” Ogden – were all freshmen and suitemates in Diamondback Apartments. Next of kin for each of the students have been notified.

As the GCU family joins together to mourn the tragic loss of these students, we ask that you keep their families and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time and know that God is always there for us.

The Office of Student Care staff is available on the second floor of the Student Life Building (Bldg. 26 – 602-639-7007 or studentcare@gcu.edu) to assist any students who need support or counseling.


Grand Canyon University identified the three women in a statement as Abriauna Hoffman and Magdalyn (Maggie) Ogden, both 18 and from Clarkston, Washington, and Hunter Balberdi, 19, of Wailuku, Hawaii.

The three women, all freshmen, were suitemates. Hoffman and Ogden were from Clarkston, Washington. Balberdi was a native of Wailuku, Hawaii.


Suspected wrong-way driver

The suspected wrong-way driver was taken to a hospital with undisclosed injuries. Drivers in the two other cars involved did not suffer serious injuries.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. No other details were immediately made available.


Tributes pouring in from all sides

Juanita said on Facebook,

I send my deepest condolences and prayers to each of their families, loved ones, friends and fellow GCU students/teachers.

Dorothy said,

So sorry for the loss of these three young people, prayers for the families and friends, we don’t understand why this happens, but God has a reason, we will know all the answers when we get to heaven. God bless each one.

Amanda said,

Wow praying for the family and friends of these amazing kids. Not long ago when I was a student we had a similar incident where we lost three GCU students to the same kind of crash. Hoping GCU/Phoenix can bring awareness so we can have better signs/Alerts that people are going the wrong way.

Yadira Luis said,

This is heartbreaking! something similar happened 5 years ago. So tragic…my prayers go out to all these families.

More info on GCU students car crash will be updated soon.



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