Cal Poly student identified as victim of fiery crash near Cholame Y

Iriana Pina

A 22-year-old woman who died in a fiery head-on crash with a semi truck last week was a Cal Poly engineering student.

Iriana Pina, from Kettleman City, was driving a Ford Mustang northbound on Highway 41 near the Cholame Y on April 30 when she veered into the southbound lanes about one mile south of the Kern County line. She then crashed head-on into an oncoming truck.

After Pina’s Mustang collided with the big rig, the truck jackknifed and caught on fire. The fire spread into nearby vegetation and burned about 1.5 acres. The truck driver emerged uninjured from the crash.

Pina was a student in Cal Poly’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and she reportedly worked at Tulare Lake Compost in Kettleman City. A GoFundMe page, set up to raise money for her family, describes Pina as a bright and shining star.

“She was a bright and shining star and had a wonderful future ahead of her with so much to look forward to,” the page says. “She approached life with a spirit like no other. No challenge was too great. No job was impossible. She was smart, funny, clever and beautiful. She will be greatly missed.”

As of Tuesday morning, the GoFundMe campaign has raised a total of $5,840. The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is also accepting donations in room 13-266.