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Teenager succumbs to injuries following Hwy. 116 crash

A teenager who died a week after being hurt in a Highway 116 crash has been identified as Anais Barajas Centeno.

Centeno, 17, a senior at Casa Grande High School, died Monday at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. She was being driven home when the car she was a passenger in was hit by a pickup at the intersection of Highway 116 and Madrone Avenue, on Cotati's western limits.

The Nov. 16 crash was the second fatal accident in a month at the intersection, and prompted renewed calls for safety measures to be installed there.

The daughter of a dairy worker, Centeno worked at a Burger King and dreamed of going to college and becoming a dancer or an actress, said her boyfriend, Cesar Cortez.

"She was a really nice girl, always happy, and she always made people happy," he said. "She always pushed forward and worked hard to pursue what she wanted."

The car in which Centeno was riding was turning left onto Madrone Avenue when it was struck. In a similar accident on Oct. 16, Maria Juana Flores was killed when her car, waiting to make the left turn off the highway, was rearended into the path of a big rig.

The crash that led to Centeno's death is under investigation, with a report expected next week, Cotati Police Sgt. Dennis Wallach said.

A memorial fund to defray expenses for Centeno's family has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank. Those who wish to help can contact any branch and use her name to donate.


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