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CORRECTION: Date for crash victims' fundraiser wrong

Clarifies that Jersey Mike's fundraiser is Wednesday, Nov. 20, not today

Posted: November 13, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 13, 2013 3:12 p.m.

The family of Nicole Hoffman mourn at a candlelight vigil at Central Park on Tuesday. Hoffman and her boyfriend Robert Corona Jr. died during the weekend from injuries they sustained in a car crash Friday night. Photo by Charlie Kaijo.

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A large crowd gathered near the softball field at Central Park on Tuesday to mourn the loss of Nicole Hoffman and Robert Corona Jr., who died during the weekend after being injured in a crash Friday night. 

Corona, 25, of Castaic, and Hoffman, 19, of Valencia, suffered fatal injuries in a crash Friday night on Highway 14. They died at separate times during the weekend at Antelope Valley Hospital.

Both worked at the In-N-Out Burger restaurant on Bouquet Canyon Road and had been dating about a year, relatives said. Corona was recently made manager, said vigil organizer Dave Forster.

Once Tuesday evening’s event began, a pastor offered a prayer before friends and family members were invited to share memories of Hoffman and Corona in front of the large gathering.

Richard Elias attended the event and remembered the good times with Corona at In-N-Out, where he also worked.

“Robert, he was the funniest guy. He’d always be singing in the stand while we were cooking burgers,” Elias said.

“He loved Nicole, and I’m sure Nicole loved Robert. They really did love each other.”

Family members set up tables with large cards showing pictures of Hoffman for guests to write condolences. 

Taylor Berry — Hoffman’s brother-in-law — reflected on the 19-year-old.

“She was the most loving and caring person you could ever meet. Her goal in life was just to make people smile. Everything wasn’t okay if she didn’t make someone smile that day,” Berry said.

“She cared about everybody. She was that person.”

Members of the family also offered candles for guests to light during the vigil.

Family members of the couple were still working out funeral arrangements Tuesday, said Hoffman’s sister Brittany Lauren Reph.

Fundraisers are being organized for the grieving families, Forster said.

Donations to the Nicole Hoffman Memorial Fund can be made online at http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/nicole-hoffman-memorial-fund/105294.

On Nov. 20, all Jersey Mike’s Subs locations in the Santa Clarita Valley will collect money for each of the families affected by the tragedy, said Amy Sandberg, marketing director for the sandwich food chain.

The fatal collision occurred after Hoffman, who was traveling northbound on Highway 14 headed toward a family get-together in California City, made a U-turn in the Honda Civic she was driving, said CHP Officer Darlena Dotson in a news release issued Tuesday.

The Civic was struck by a silver Toyota Tundra driven by Joseph McMillan, 56, of Ridgecrest, also traveling northbound on Highway 14, Dotson said.

Corona, who was in the Civic’s passenger seat, got out of the vehicle to walk around to the driver’s side when “a southbound grey Ford Explorer driven by Ronald Kennebrew, 28, of Palmdale, struck both the disabled Honda Civic and Corona, causing major injuries to both Corona and Hoffman, who were transported by ambulance to Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster,” Dotson said.

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the collision, the CHP officer said. The collision remained under investigation.

jholt@signalscv.com
661-287-5527
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@jamesarthurholt

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