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Driver Arrested In Fatal DUI Crash That Claimed Life Of CSUN Student, 19

NORTHRIDGE ( — Police are investigating a fatal crash in Northridge that took the life of a 19-year-old CSUN student early Sunday morning.

19-year-old Desirae Crystal Crittenden of Northridge was killed when investigators say a 2005 Honda Civic with four people inside was traveling eastbound on Roscoe and collided with the Ford Mustang she was traveling in northbound along Lindley.

Officers were called to Roscoe Boulevard and Lindley Avenue shortly after 3:30 a.m.

A passenger in the Mustang was also hospitalized.

CBS2's Jennifer Kastner spoke to Dwight Johnson's who said his daughter Tylen was best friends with the victim and also in the Mustang.

Tylen survived the crash.

"My daughter could just as easily have been on the other end of it. I could be planning a funeral for my daughter." Johnson said.

Tylen told her father she was lucky to get out of the vehicle.

"She crawled out," he said, "she unbuckled her seat belt, she heard someone say the car was on fire. She crawled on the glass to get away."

Family says Crittenden was finishing her freshman year at CSU Northridge where she was a member of the Alpha Phi Sorority.

The people in the Civic were hospitalized for various injuries, at least one being severe. The driver -- and man in his 20s -- has been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, officials said.

"If anybody witnessed this traffic collision here at 3:30 in the morning [on] Roscoe and Lindley - we are asking [you to] please contact the Los Angeles Police Department."

One Samaritan who works near the scene of the crash was among the first to offer assistance.

"We saw fire on one of the cars," Jose Padilla said. "We broke into our building's fire extinguishers."

Padilla says Crittenden was bleeding in the car upon his arrival, and he thought it best not to move her until the fire department arrived.

"We just decided to wait for the fire department to get there, and pull her out," Padilla said. "But as they were coming, we were trying to talk to her, to see if she was still conscious. She was moving, but after a while, I figured she wasn't going to make it."

Delmy Franco, who is the mother of a man who had been dating Crittenden, visited the crash site on Sunday to pay her respects.

"She was a beautiful lady, very smart," Franco said. "She had a life ahead of her."

Via Skype Sunday, the victim's cousin -- Nick Arellano -- spoke to Kastner.

"She always had a smile on her face, she was never upset. She always new how to keep you happy. She was just that kind of person," said Arellano.

"I can't even imagine the loss of a daugher," Johnson said, "especially on Father's Day."


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