Three GCU Students Killed in I-17 Wrong Way Multi-Vehicle Crash: What Happened?

NEW RIVER, Arizona- Three GCU students died in a tragic multi-vehicle wrong-way crash near New River. According to the reports, the accident took place along a stretch of the I-17 in the area.

The three girls killed in the tragedy have been identified as Grand Canyon University students who were roommates. Read on to know everything about the unfortunate event.

3 GCU Students Killed in I-17 Multi-Vehicle Crash near New River

Three freshman-year students of Grand Canyon University died in a freak accident near the New River area. All three of them were roommates. A driver heading southbound in the I-17 lanes northbound lanes collided with the students’ vehicle and two other cars traveling in the right direction.

Two students died on the scene in the tragic car accident while the alleged wrong-way driver was found unconscious at the scene. He has been hospitalized as per the DPS’ statement while the third student died in the hospital.

The people in the other cars were released after the initial treatment. The terrible four-vehicle crash occurred at around 4 AM on Monday, October 10, 2022.

GCU Students Killed in the Crash Identified as Hunter Balberdi, Abriauna Hoffman, and Magdalyn Ogden

Arround 12 hours later, Grand Canyon University identified the three people killed in the New River crash as their freshman students. They have been identified as Hunter Balberdi, 19, Abriauna Hoffman, 18, and Magdalyn “Maggie” Ogden, 18.

They were dorm roommates in Diamondback Residence Hall as revealed by GCU’s executive director Bob Romantic.

Balberdi was from Wailuku, Hawaii, and was a pre-med student enrolled in biology. Ogden was from Clarkston, Washington, and was also on the same education and career path as her roommate Balberdi. Hoffman was also from Clarkston but studied marketing and advertising.

The three of them had their whole lives in front of them before getting killed in an unfortunate car accident.

University and Friends React to the Students’ Untimely Demise

The Grand Canyon University is paying tribute to the three deceased students who passed away in the New River multi-vehicle crash.

“As the GCU family joins together to mourn the tragic loss of these students, we ask that you keep their families and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time and know that God is always there for us,” they wrote in their statement.

Friends of the three girls are also shocked and reacted to the tragic death of their fellow mates.

“I just couldn’t believe it. It was so heartbreaking,” said Ogden’s friend, Julia Solano.

The last time Solano saw Ogden was when she left to attend school at GCU on the previous day.

“I walked through the door, and she gave me a big, big hug, and I actually wasn’t doing mentally OK at the time. She just made my day like so much better, and she was just talking to me about how everything is going to be OK.” Solano revealed.

A memorial has been set up for Balberdi, Hoffman, and Ogden on the GCU campus.

The university is also offering support for students at the Office of Student Care on the second floor of the Student Life Building. Students can also call 602-639-7007 or email

New River Crash Under Investigation; No Charges Filed Yet

Northbound I-17 was closed at milepost 236 and northbound traffic was diverted back to Table Mesa Road following the crash and its ongoing investigation. The highway reopened on Monday afternoon as police gathered enough investigative material from the scene.

The officials haven’t ruled out impairment as a factor in the collision. The driver who was allegedly coming on the wrong way is currently admitted to the hospital getting treatment for serious injuries.

No charges have been filed yet. The police are continuing to investigate the cause of the collision. We’ll keep you posted with further developments on this story.