The Madera County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office has released the identity of a teenaged girl killed in an automobile accident over the weekend in Oakhurst.
According to Madera County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Tyson Pogue, the victim of the accident has been identified as Shania Faith Costella, 16, of Oakhurst. Yosemite High School, where Costella was a junior, has been in mourning since her passing, according to Principal Randy Seals.
“The mood around campus matches the weather outside — it’s pretty gloomy,” Seals said. “It’s a tough day.”
Seals has stated that grief counsellors have been present on campus, and that friends and teachers have been coping with the loss by recalling and talking about lighthearted memories they shared with Costella.
“Everybody in the Yosemite High School family is heartbroken over the loss of Shania,” Seals said. “She had a way of lighting up the room.”
Costella was killed when the SUV she was driving Saturday crashed into China Creek, and became submerged. According to California Highway Patrol reports, Costella lost control of the vehicle in a hydroplane on Road 426, causing it to overturn. She was taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where she was later pronounced dead. CHP investigators do not believe that alcohol or drugs were in any way involved in the accident.
Costella was a member of the Cadet Corps at Yosemite High, and served as a color guard. She was also on the girls’ junior varsity basketball team.
“My sister was my everything. To say she will be missed, or to say what a loss is a complete understatement,” said Sahvannah Costella, her sister, on Facebook. “Shania was the most remarkable human being I have ever met. Yes, she was my little sister, but she was much more than that to me- she was my partner in crime, my best friend, my shoulder to cry on.”
Sahvannah, 17, was riding with her sister when the accident took place, and was able to escape from the vehicle without being seriously injured. According to witnesses, she then ran for help.
A Gofundme account for Costella’s memorial has been set up, and donations are being collected at https://www.gofundme.com/shania-faith-costella-memorial.