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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | East County / Moorpark

Students Grieve for Deceased Classmates

October 24, 2000|TRACI ISAACS

Crisis counselors spent the day consoling students at Moorpark High School following the deaths of two classmates in a weekend car crash.

Moorpark Principal Anna Merriman said at least 500 teenagers visited a classroom that was converted into a makeshift counseling office. She described the mood as "respectful, somber and caring."

"If you were grieving, this is a good place to be today," she said.

The accident occurred Friday on the Ronald Reagan Freeway around 9:30 p.m. Five teens were returning from a movie when driver Shane Malloy swerved to avoid a stepladder. He lost control, spun out, went off the edge of the road and slammed into a large tree while in midair, police said.

Shane, 17, and Brooke Bronkowski, 14, were killed. The two attended the school's homecoming dance together two weeks ago.

Lisa Tumbarello, 14, underwent surgery for a broken leg, cracked pelvis and two cracked ribs. She was listed in stable condition Monday. Brooke's brother, Joel Bronkowski, 17, and Johnny Mendoza, 16, were treated for minor injuries and released.

School memorials are not planned until funerals are over and time passes for grieving, Merriman said.

"Our No. 1 goal was helping [students] get through a difficult day," she said.

All five teenagers were wearing seat belts, and neither drugs nor alcohol are suspected, said Dave Webb, California Highway Patrol spokesman.

Shane had just reached the second six months of his provisional driver's license, making it legal for him to carry passengers under the age of 20, Webb added.

Services for Shane are scheduled for 10 a.m. today at the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Moorpark. A burial follows at Assumption Cemetery in Simi Valley, and later a reception at Holy Cross.

To help defray burial costs, donations are being accepted at the Bank of America, 510 New Los Angeles Ave., Moorpark, 93021.

Friends are invited to attend Brooke's viewing today from 5 to 8 p.m. at Reardon Simi Valley Mortuary. Funeral services begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Sonrise Christian Fellowship. A reception follows at the Cornerstone Community Church in Simi. Flowers must be sent no later than 1 p.m. today to Reardon.

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