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High School Classmates Chip in to Support Family Members of Sister Killed in Hwy 101 Crash

A former classmate created an online donating page, so far raising more than $6,500.

A former high school classmate of one of two sisters who died in a crash in Palo Alto on Black Friday has created an online donation page to raise money to support the San Bruno family.

The sisters were both killed after an SUV driven by their father, Arvind Tandel, 48, crashed into a California Highway Patrol vehicle that was pulled over on the right-hand side of U.S. Highway 101 near Embarcadero Road just before 7 a.m., according to the CHP. The family had been shopping for gifts in Gilroy. 

The sisters were identified by the Santa Clara County medical examiner's office as Nisha Tandel, 24, and Sheetal Tandel, 20.

Notre Dame High School Belmont administrative assistant Mirna Yao said a vigil mass was held there Monday for the two former students, who graduated in 2006 and 2010.

A student from the class of 2010 has been leading an online effort to support surviving family members, Yao said.

Sheetal's friend and former Notre Dame High School Belmont classmate Raquel Ferrari created an online GoFundMe.com site the day of the accident and as of Wednesday afternoon had raised more than $6,500 in donations from 125 different people.

According to the website's description page, the NDB Class of 2010 has set up this donation page to create a memorial for the sisters by putting money toward an engraved water globe.

Site donations also aim to financially support the family, with
some members who were in the car during the crash still at local hospitals,
some in critical condition.

According to Ferrari, Nisha was to be married in India in January and the family had been shopping for gifts in Gilroy to take with them to India for the wedding before the crash happened.

Nisha, the oldest of four sisters in the car, was pronounced dead at the scene after she was ejected from the gold Lexus SUV, while Sheetal, who was also ejected, was pronounced dead at Stanford Hospital that night around 8:30 p.m., according to authorities.

Arvind Tandel's 34-year-old wife, Yogita, was in the passenger seat, and the four sisters, ages 12 to 24, were sitting in the back seats, CHP Officer Amelia Jack said.

According to the CHP, before the crash a CHP vehicle had pulled over to deal with a stalled pickup truck on the side of the road.

The Tandels' SUV swerved into the shoulder and hit the patrol vehicle. The SUV then flipped multiple times before coming to a rest near the Embarcadero Road off-ramp, according to the CHP.

Asking for support from classmates who knew Sheetal, Ferrari wrote on the site that Sheetal "was such a brightening presence in our high school experience, always beaming with excitement and laughter."

In an update on the page posted Tuesday, Ferrari wrote, "Nothing will take away the pain from the loss, but we hope to keep Sheetal and Nisha's memories alive and support the Tandel family through this extremely painful time."

The donation page can be found at http://www.gofundme.com/sheetal-nisha-memorial.

--Bay City News Service

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