Sacto 9-1-1
June 27, 2013
UC Davis grad student dies from injuries suffered in I-5 crash

By Bill Lindelof and Jeffrey Dastin

UC Davis veterinary school graduate Loreto A. Godoy has died from injuries she suffered in a car crash Friday that killed three others, including her husband's parents, according to a UC Davis news release.

Godoy, 32, and her husband Fernando O. Mardones, 36, were driving to Southern California last week when a 29-year-old man traveling north on Interstate 5 crossed the median and collided head-on with their car. The man, as well as Mardones' parents sitting in the front of the car, died at the scene.

Family members told university officials Wednesday that Godoy, who died at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, will be an organ donor.

Mardones and the couple's 8-month and 4-year-old daughters survived the crash. They have returned home to Davis with broken bones, and they expressed gratitude to the UC Davis community, the news release said.

Friends, faculty, and the Chilean community launched an online fund-raiser last week to help Mardones cover medical and funeral costs. As of noon Thursday, they had raised over $116,000. Donations can be made online at

Godoy and Mardones earned master's degrees from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2009 and 2007, respectively. They went on to study for their doctorates; Godoy researched conservation ecology.

"Loreto was a bright star in our graduate program and, by all accounts, a fantastic mother," UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi told the campus. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Godoy and Mardones families, for those who have died, and for Fernando and his children who have lost their wife and mother, and parents and grandparents."

Holly Ernest, an associate professor in residence at the veterinary school, described Godoy as an "angel."

"She is always helping other students, and when we have been banding hummingbirds, all of the volunteers just love her," Ernest said in a statement.

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