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Placer school mourns I-80 crash victim

Victim was a 16-year-old Colfax resident, Placer High student
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Placer High School was a school in mourning Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Joelle Cherelyn Lindbloom — a 16-year-old student at the Auburn school — died when the car she was driving crashed into an Interstate 80 overpass pillar.

On Wednesday morning, messages had filled large sheets of paper spread out on a table for students to express their grief and write down memories of Joelle.

Ali Minz, a sophomore, wrote of walking to class and encountering Lindbloom, always with a big smile.

“Everyone is really sad,” Minz said. “Every class this morning, everyone was not in a happy mood.”

Students poured out their thoughts on paper of a girl who Principal Steve Caminiti described as a “great student and great person.”

“You will always be remembered as the girl who could make anyone’s day better,” was one message.

Other’s wrote “Fly High” in remembrance of her presence on the school’s pole-vaulting team.

“You could turn the worst vault practices to the best,” one student wrote.

“We’ll miss your radiantly positive self,” wrote another.

Caminiti said the loss was also being felt at Colfax and Del Oro high schools, where Joelle had many friends.

Chaplains and counsellors were at Placer High Tuesday and Wednesday to help the school deal with grief from the loss.

“She was a quality young lady and will be greatly missed,” Caminiti said.

The fatal crash occurred at 7:35 a.m. Tuesday on a section of Interstate 80 between Auburn and Colfax at the Heather Glen exit.

The California Highway Patrol said Joelle, a Colfax-area resident, was driving a 2005 Ford Freestyle crossover SUV on westbound I-80 approaching the Heather Glen overcrossing when the vehicle veered across the freeway and off the road. As the vehicle left the road, it struck the side of a concrete pillar, the Highway Patrol said.

Joelle was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel.