Drunk Driver Kills Two Grass Valley Teens, Injures Another

Drunk Driver Kills Two Grass Valley Teens, Injures Another
Drunk Driver Kills Two Grass Valley Teens, Injures Another

I’m Ed Smith, a Grass Valley wrongful death lawyer. Profound grief is affecting the community of Grass Valley after two local high school students lost their lives in an auto accident involving a drunk driver. The young men who were tragically killed were Justin Gardner and Tyler Nielson, a sophomore and senior at Nevada Union High School.

My heartfelt sympathies are with Nielson and Gardner’s loved ones and community as they mourn their loss. We send our hopes for a full recovery to the third passenger who was seriously injured in this crash.

News Report

Accident Information

According to authorities of California Highway Patrol (CHP), the accident occurred on Sunday, March 25, 2018, when Gardner and Nielson had been driving to Pismo Beach for spring break along with their classmate, Dawson Fay.

The three had been driving south on Highway Interstate 5 approaching State Route 165 close to Los Banos. At about 11:50 a.m., a northbound driver in a white sedan illegally crossed over the highway’s median and collided with the driver’s side of the students’ vehicle.

Response and Injuries

Emergency responders at the accident scene found Nielson, Gardner, and Fay with serious injuries. Reportedly, Nielson lost his life at the crash scene before he could be put on an ambulance. Gardner was taken to a nearby hospital and put in an intensive care unit. However, his injuries were too great and he died shortly after arriving at the trauma center.

Fay was determined to have sustained a broken hip and was also taken to a hospital for treatment. According to reports, Fay is in fair condition and currently recovering.


CHP said that the driver of the white sedan, a 21-year-old resident of San Jose, was found to be intoxicated by alcohol at the time of the accident. The woman was placed under arrest on charges of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter. After her arrest, she was released to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Authorities reported that the woman will be booked into jail after she is released from the hospital.

Lives Celebrated

Students of Nevada Union High School gathered on Sunday and Monday in order to honor the memories of their classmates. Friends of the teenagers described them as “full of life and talent” and “leaders on campus.” Teachers remarked that the two had been “standout students.” Both Nielson and Gardner were members of the high school football team and one teammate told reporters that they “were always bringing a smile” to the faces of their teammates.

Those who knew the young men said that they were “role models” with bright futures and expressed anger that the futures of two outstanding individuals could be cut short by the bad decision of a reckless driver.

More by Ed Smith, Grass Valley Wrongful Death Lawyer

Grass Valley Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Grass Valley wrongful death lawyer. Reckless drivers can be held liable for the damage they cause. If your loved one has died or been seriously injured because of a careless driver, please contact me to receive free, friendly legal advice. I can be contacted on or at (530) 392-9400 Those outside the area can call (800) 404-5400.

I’ve been practicing wrongful death and personal injury law in Grass Valley and nearby areas for more than 36 years and have assisted many individuals with obtaining the money they are rightfully owed.

You can read reviews from my clients here:

I’ve achieved case settlements and won verdicts worth $1,000,000 and more for clients and have a membership in the national forum for Million Dollar Advocates.

See my Prior Verdicts and Settlements.

For the best Northern CA wrongful death, personal injury, and car accident reporting and information see

pic: “tough times – grieving” by Ben W licensed under C.C.0

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