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Three Conservation Corps Members Killed In Car Crash Near Fresno

Members of the California Conservation Corps in Fresno are getting grief counseling after three crew members were killed in a car crash Tuesday while heading to a job site near Reedley.

Corps members are known for doing dangerous work like fighting fires. But agency officials say three fatalities in one day has never happened before. Susanne Levitsky with the corps says even one death has been extremely rare over the corp's 40 year history.

"It's just a very, very tragic occurrence," says Levitsky.

The three corps members killed are: 21-year-old Justin Vanmeter; 20-year-old Rhonda Shackelford; and 18-year-old Serena Guadarrama.

"They just embarked on a year of service in the corps and just started out," says Levitsky. "They were working on a water conservation crew in Fresno."

Governor Brown has ordered flags at the state capitol be flown at half-staff.

The CCC was formed in 1976. It's a state agency where men and women, aged 18-to-25, work to improve the state's natural resources. They also respond to emergencies like floods and earthquakes.

 California Highway Patrol

Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the voice of Capital Public Radio News as anchor of Morning Edition and Insight. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music. Steve also produced stories for CapRadio.org.   Read Full Bio