U of M cheerleaders and friend killed in Wisconsin car wreck

Categories: U of M

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​The names of the three students who died yesterday in a crash in Wisconsin have not been officially released by authorities, but one of the survivors, Carlos Rios, has identified his three friends.

The terrible story began with a weekend trip home to visit Rios's family in Milwaukee. But when a tire blew out at about 2:30 a.m. Thursday, everything went horribly wrong.

Marcus Johnson, 19, and Wilfredo Ugarte, 23, and Johnson's girlfriend, Elysia Rapp, 20, are all dead.

As Rios detailed to Minnesota Public Radio, the friends got outside the car to repair the blown-out tire. They gazed at the stars, noticing how bright they were compared to the view from the Cities. Then out of nowhere, a car driven by a suspected drunk driver came hurtling at them, swerving onto the shoulder and hitting them. Then Rios saw Johnson's blood-covered body on the hood of the car.

"This is a very sad day for the University of Minnesota and Gopher Athletics," said athletic director Joel Maturi in a statement yesterday. "The entire department was shocked to learn of this senseless tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends and loved ones of the young people we lost early this morning."

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