Berkeley Crash Victim was Single Mother, Recent Cal Grad, University Village Resident

A statement about Milanca Alicia Lopez was released on Facebook after her death. Her son, Xavier, remained in critical condition as of Friday morning. Click "Keep me posted" for more information about this topic.

The woman who died in Berkeley in at California Street and Allston Way has been identified by friends as Milanca Alicia Lopez, who still lived in with her young son, Xavier. 

According to a statement posted on Facebook, her son remained in critical condition Friday.

Authorities said repeatedly on Friday that all three crash victims were Berkeley residents, but that does not appear to be true. Lopez still has an apartment in Albany's University Village. 

There will be a candlelight vigil for Lopez on Sunday at 5 p.m., according to University Village Family Housing director Tavie Tipton.

The vigil will take place at the corner of Allston Way and California Street in Berkeley: "Please feel free to bring children, as there is a playground adjacent to the small park. There will be a memorial event in the Village at a later date for those unable to attend tomorrow."

Friend Audra Casanova said Saturday, via email, that the Lopez family is "extremely overwhelmed" and continues to ask for privacy regarding Xavier's condition. 

"A family member has been in close contact with our community, keeping us updated," she wrote.

Casanova also said Lopez "had a contagious smile that could light up a room. She always said her son was the light of her life and that the greatest accomplishment of her life was her son."

Lopez was "a dedicated student. We worked closely together to advocate for rights for student-parents especially in regards to the recent tuition hikes. She always knew how to have a great time and make the best of things and life. She loved to cook and never cooked a thing without always sharing with her friends."

Casanova described her friend as beautiful, loving and giving. 

"She loved working and giving back to a variety of marginalized and underprivileged students. She was on her way to following her dream of becoming an educator to those very kinds of students and she would have made a wonderful, strong, socially just educator. It is a sad loss not only for the UC Berkeley student parent community but for the many children that will never be able to benefit from the hugely passionate heart and great mind that Milanca was guided by."

According to news reports from recent years, Lopez was a single mother who has advocated for the rights of parent-students, and spoken out against budget cuts that increased tuition for UC students. 

Lopez was 20 in 2009, according The Golden Gate [X]press.

In November 2010, Lopez was quoted in a blog post about how budget cuts had affected child care services and financial aid for parent-students.

The Berkeley Police Department has not released the names of the crash victims or many details about them, citing privacy concerns. The boy and a man in the car Friday were taken to hospitals with serious injuries Friday, but Lopez was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The following statement, via a closed Facebook group for University of California at Berkeley student parents, was posted after her death and shared with University Village residents around noon Saturday:

"It is with heavy hearts that we share the loss of Milanca Alicia Lopez,
the victim of a which occurred early this morning.

Milanca was a double major in Social Welfare and Chicano Studies and had
just graduated from Cal a few days ago. She was headed to UCLA’s School of
Education and Information Studies to commence a Master’s program in the
fall. Milanca came to Cal as a freshman in 2007 along with her infant son
Xavier who has grown up within the folds of our student parent community.
Xavier aka "X" & "Xavi"is currently in critical condition and we ask that
you keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Should we receive consent from the family to disclose more information
regarding Xavier, we will do so.

Milanca was honest and open about both the struggles and the victories
that are inevitable as a parenting student at Cal and she was very loved
by our community. Milanca was an incredibly bright young woman with an
infectious smile and a delightful sense of humor. She will be remembered
as someone with a fierce love for her family - her siblings, nieces and
nephews, her parents, and especially her son. Milanca was a friend and a
fellow Mama Bear and we will miss her and the promise of what was to come.

We send our condolences and prayers to her family in this difficult time
and simply want to express sympathy for the tremendous grief her tragic
death has brought upon them.

The Cal student parent community will provide information soon for a
proposed informal gathering to remember Milanca and collectively provide
support to each other. Details will be posted on Facebook as soon as they
are available."

Details about the early-morning crash remain relatively scant. Police have said that, according to their preliminary investigation, a Cadillac was travelling northbound on California just after 1 a.m. Friday when it struck the roundabout in the intersection of Allston Way, then collided with a tree on the east side of California Street just north of Allston. 

Authorities have not identified the driver; they said a woman in her 20s was pronounced dead at the scene.  

The Berkeley Police Department has not released any new information about the crash since 11:15 a.m. Friday.

On Tuesday, May 22, a friend reported that a PayPal account has been set up for Milanca's family. Supporters can email inloveformilanca@gmail.com at PayPal.com.

Get an alert as soon as we publish stories related to traffic safety in Albany by clicking the "Keep me posted" button below. Read more here.

If there's something in this article you think , or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email her at albany@patch.com.

Kayko May 20, 2012 at 01:44 AM
How sad - I would love to know if there is any kind of scholarship fund being put into place for Xavier. Poor child.
Emilie Raguso May 20, 2012 at 01:57 AM
We will definitely post information about this if anything becomes available.
Margaret Tong May 20, 2012 at 05:44 AM
I'm happy to give a generous donation to the laddie's daily needs, We don't know that he wants to go to a university
Emilie Raguso May 22, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Via a friend of Milanca's: "There IS a paypal account set up for Milanca's family. If you have a paypal account simply log on and click on the "Send Money" tab to send a "gift" to the email address: inloveformilanca@gmail.com. We are still in the process of making this available to ALL who would like to make a donation without a paypal account. We will let you know ASAP when and how to do that. Thank you for your patience and continued love and support. <3
JS May 23, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Thank you for your kind thoughts. You can make a donation in honor of Milanca Lopez at www.gofundme.com/milancalopez. The Lopez family thanks you.


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