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Bryce Alderton They were a trio of sweet, fun-loving...

March 30, 2002

Bryce Alderton

They were a trio of sweet, fun-loving girls, ready for anything.

Jillian Baedeker, 19, Chelsea Toma, 19, and 18-year-old Nancy Le were

part of a close-knit group that went to the beach, shopped, sunbathed and

went to coffee shops.

It was a Starbucks Coffee shop that the three girls were driving home

from at about midnight on March 20 when their lives were tragically cut

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short.

Police say the Nissan Sentra they were in was broadsided by a 1983

yellow Ford Mustang driven by 27-year-old James Paul Bell Jr. from

Rowland Heights at the intersection of Beach Boulevard and Edinger Avenue

in Huntington Beach.

Bell was arrested on suspicion of felony drunk driving. He remains in

the custody of the Orange County Sheriff's Department at UCI Medical,

where he is listed in stable condition.

He could be charged with anything from manslaughter to second degree

murder, said Officer Robert Barr of the Huntington Beach Police

Department.

Tears of farewell

The three girls were often inseparable. They all attended Marina High

School and hung out on the weekends.

Baedeker and Toma graduated from Marina in 2001, while Nancy was

supposed to graduate this year from Coast Independent High School in

Huntington Beach, said 18-year-old Michelle Paik, who met Le in the

eighth grade and Baedeker and Toma two years ago while all four attended

Marina High.

"Nancy and I hung out a lot with Jillian, Chelsea and the whole group

on the weekends. [Le's] favorite thing was shopping, she knew all the

gossip," Paik said, smiling. "They were the life of the party. Chelsea

rode [horses], was the All-American girl out to have fun, Jillian did

kick boxing and was the nicest girl you could ever meet. They were just

out to have a good time all the time."

Family and friends hugged one another and cried as they remembered Le

on Sunday.

"Fashion was her passion," said Le's 21-year-old brother Tai Le, the

eldest of three siblings that included Nancy and 13-year-old John. "She

was a very articulate person in design, really creative. She was planning

on going to San Francisco in the spring or fall after taking some time

off from classes."

The three siblings were inseparable, always giving each other advice

and helping in any way they could, said Tai Le, who will graduate from

Orange Coast College in the spring and wants to study business at either

Cal State Fullerton or Cal State Long Beach.

"She was very unselfish," he said. "When she came home at night she

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