Yuba City High graduate dies in crash
A Yuba City High graduate who died in a vehicle accident in Southern California last weekend is remembered by her friends as a sunny, perennially vibrant and free-spirited woman who died too young.
"Chrissy was incredible," said Jennifer Jeremiah, 29, a Browns Valley resident who had known Chrissy Gilbert from middle school through their graduation in 2001 from Yuba City High. "She didn't care who you were, she was nice to everyone. When you were around her, it was really hard to be in a bad mood, because she wouldn't let you."
Gilbert, 29, died early Saturday in a collision-and-rollover accident on Highway 91 in La Palma, in Orange County, according to the Orange County Register.
Gilbert was the passenger in a 2010 Toyota Corolla that collided with another vehicle, then veered off the freeway and rolled over, ejecting her.
The Corolla's driver, who has not been identified, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the Register, citing the CHP.
Tarah Smith, also a friend of Gilbert's from high school, said she was dumbfounded when she heard of her friend's death.
"The first thing I thought was, 'God really needed an angel like her,'" Smith said in an email. "I want people to know that when it comes to living your life to fullest, she did just that."
Jeremiah said Gilbert moved from Yuba City soon after she graduated, spending time in Seattle and Ecuador, among other places, eventually settling in the Long Beach area.
High school friend Whitney Dhalliwal Hardison, 28, said Gilbert's Ecuador excursion started as a vacation there because it was the only place she could afford to go that had a beach.
"And then she lived there for like a year!" said Hardison, who lives in Yuba City. "She was the quintessential free bird."
Hardison said she also remembered Gilbert, who lived with her family for a while in high school, as being a tremendous emotional rock for her when she had lost a grandparent.
"She could make any situation seem like the next moment was going to be best," Hardison said.
Jeremiah said Gilbert's family is having a private funeral service, but she and other friends are discussing the possibility of organizing a public celebration of life.