Grand Canyon University student tragedies continue over summer break

A Grand Canyon University student has died and another was critically injured in separate accidents this month.

The two accidents follow the deaths of two Grand Canyon University students who died in a wrong-way car crash earlier this year.

Christian Applegate, 21, died in a motorcycle accident Aug. 6 in his hometown in California, according to a post from the university’s official Twitter page.

The post said Applegate was a rising senior majoring in business.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help cover Applegate’s funeral expenses.

Chandler Riesterer, 22, is a senior at Grand Canyon University. His twin brother, Connor Riesterer, is an online student at the university.

Both transferred to GCU after attending Chandler-Gilbert Community College and Corona del Sol High School, the Twitter post said.

Chandler Riesterer was involved in a plane crash near Deer Valley Airport with his good friend, 18-year-old Brody Burnell.

The plane crashed on Aug. 1. Riesterer and Burnell are still in the hospital in critical condition more than a week later.

In April, the lives of sisters Karli, 20, and Kelsey, 18, Richardson were taken in a wrong-way crash in which Keaton Allison, 21, was drunk. Karli and Allison, who also died in the collision, were GCU students.

‘They are definitely making progress’

According to Chandler’s mother, Allison Riesterer, Chandler is slowly progressing and has had two leg surgeries. Chandler Riesterer suffered several broken bones in the leg, fractured vertebrae and head trauma.

“Each day is a new day, and they are definitely making progress,” Allison Riesterer said. “But this is going to be a very long road that we don’t know the extent of it until they’re conscious.”

Riesterer and Burnell flew together all the time, according to Burnell’s mother, Genie Burnell. Apparently, the two were heading to Sedona for lunch.

Genie Burnell said doctors have barely been able to treat her son at all. So far, they have removed a piece of bone to relieve pressure in Brody’s brain.

She also said Brody was going to have spine surgery Thursday, but he came down with a fever. There is a lot more work that has to be done on his many broken bones.

“This is a marathon here,” she said.

The Dutch Bros. Coffee at the Grayhawk location in Scottsdale was to donate all proceeds sold from drinks on Aug. 11 to the families of Riesterer and Burnell.

All other Arizona locations will be accepting cash donations on their behalf, according to a Dutch Bros. Arizona Facebook post.

GoFundMe accounts have also been set up for both Riesterer and Burnell to help with recovery expenses.

According to Phoenix fire Capt. Larry Subervi, the plane went down near 19th Avenue and Rose Garden Lane, west of Deer Valley Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration said witnesses reported the plane wings rocking back and forth just after takeoff.

The plane crashed through a fence and into a tree, Subervi said.

READ MORE:

Mom of crash victims accepts daughter’s GCU diploma

Memories buoy family, friends of 3 killed in crash

2 hurt in plane crash near Deer Valley Airport

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