Friends die in collision with wrong-way driver

Diana Rojas Martinez and Christopher Bunay. Courtesy of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School

Two college students from the Diamond Lake and Central neighborhoods died instantly in a car accident Sept. 26 on Interstate 94 just east of Lowry Avenue.

Christopher Jahmar Bunay, age 19, died of multiple blunt force injuries, and Diana Rojas Martinez, age 18, died of blunt force head trauma, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The Minnesota State Patrol’s preliminary investigation indicated a BMW travelling westbound in the eastbound lanes at 1:34 a.m. collided head-on with a Toyota carrying Rojas Martinez and Bunay.

The driver of the BMW was Quoc Thanh Tran, age 26, of Brooklyn Center, who was under the influence of alcohol, according to the state patrol. Tran was treated for non-life threatening injuries and due for release from the hospital on Oct. 3, according to the state patrol.

The students graduated last June from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, and the school described them as “bright lights in the community.” Both played soccer, and the boys’ and girls’ teams took a moment of silence before games last week.

“They were fierce friends, hard-working students and driven to succeed in all parts of their lives,” the school said in a statement.

Rojas Martinez was a freshman at the University of Minnesota and was considering a career in physical therapy, according to a memorial fund established in her name. Another campaign is raising funeral expenses for Bunay, who had recently started school at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Rojas Martinez, one of the few female members of the robotics team at Cristo Rey, went on to attend the University of Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School
Rojas Martinez participated in the robotics team at Cristo Rey. Photo courtesy of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School