A fatal car crash in Monterey County on Highway 1 near Molera Road occurred midday on March 21. A Lexus SUV carrying seven young women, including four UC Santa Cruz students, cut across the center median and struck a Mazda sedan head on, killing the driver — 24-year-old Nikolas Agustin Malliarodakis of Prunedale.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) responded and pronounced Malliarodakis dead at the scene. SUV passenger Lillianne Scott, a 19-year-old from Colorado, was pronounced brain dead March 23 after being transported to the hospital. She died soon after, reported CHP officer Oscar Loza.
Of the SUV’s seven occupants, six admitted to smoking marijuana in the car. The driver, second-year UCSC student Lynnea Hernandez, was driving south on Highway 1 when she threw a cigarette out the window, crossed over to the other side of the highway and collided with Malliarodakis’ car.
Sergeant Peter Schaeffer said Hernandez was charged with DUI resulting in injury or death, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, possession of a controlled substance which in this case is MDMA, classified under methamphetamine. All three charges are felonies.
Hernandez told authorities she ingested prescription medication about 10 minutes before the crash in addition to smoking marijuana. She was transported to the Stanford Hospital for a lacerated liver and possible pelvis fractures, Loza said. Hernandez was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on March 29. Her bail is set at $3 million.
UCSC student Sarah Cameron was arrested at the scene and booked at the Monterey County Jail for destroying and concealing evidence after allegedly throwing a makeup bag containing marijuana and MDMA into a field near the crash site. She was released after posting a $3,500 bail, said the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office.
Scott Hernandez-Jason, UCSC director of news and media relations, said in an email that while federal law prohibits commenting on specific students and cases, if a student is found responsible for violating the student code of conduct, it can lead to expulsion.
“Off-campus behavior can trigger campus disciplinary proceedings, depending on allegations,” Hernandez-Jason said. “The proceeding offers students due process and a right to argue their side and appeal outcomes. Additionally, the campus can institute interim suspensions when the campus health and safety could be threatened by a student’s presence.”
Loza said the police are still investigating the extent of the intoxication of the women in the SUV. “We know they were smoking in the vehicle. But how long were they smoking for, how much did they smoke, what other drugs did they do?” Loza said. “We did find Ecstasy, so we also want to know if they were high on Ecstasy at the time. All these are things we are still investigating.”