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Tragedy strikes newlyweds on honeymoon

Groom fighting for life in hospital
By: Don Chaddock Telegraph Managing Editor
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A romantic honeymoon in the Bahamas ended in tragedy for a local couple. Crystal Andrews-Rodriguez, 22, was killed and her husband, Victor, is fighting for his life in a hospital. The Citrus Heights residents were married June 4. On June 16, the couple was parasailing at Lucayan Beach in Freeport on Grand Bahama when their harness broke. The bride and groom plummeted 40 to 50 feet, according to authorities. Crystal, born April 3, 1989, was a 2007 graduate of Casa Roble High School in Orangevale. Cindy Fritz, of Orangevale, said her daughter’s death is devastating. “She died doing what she loved,” Fritz said. “Crystal was an adrenaline junkie. She’s (been skydiving) since she was 16. … That was probably the first time she’s been parasailing.” She said it’s difficult to grasp the concept of her daughter’s death. “We were just celebrating her wedding,” she said. Crystal’s great aunt said the family is struggling to deal with the situation. “She was a real good girl,” said Joanne McDaniel, of Folsom. “She and her husband did it right. They didn’t live together before they got married. They worked.” While the family would normally be looking forward to receiving wedding photos, they are instead focused on trying to get Crystal’s body sent home. Sarah Bianchi, of Orangevale, was one of Crystal’s best friends. “I’ve known Crystal since 2006,” Bianchi said. “We always said that we had enough in common to keep each other fascinated, but not enough to bore each other.” Bianchi was the catalyst for bringing Victor and Crystal together. “I worked with Victor at Mr. Pickles Sandwich Shop. She was living in New Mexico at the time and she came back to visit and Victor was playing in a softball game,” she recalled. “I brought Crystal with me and she saw him in the outfield. They both asked me for each other’s phone numbers at the same time. He saw me sitting with Crystal and thought, ‘Wow, I hope that’s Sarah’s friend.’” Bianchi said her friend had an infectious smile. “She was always happy and smiling,” Bianchi said. “She made everyone around her happy. I’m really going to miss hanging out with her and her smile.” Bianchi said Crystal often talked about wanting kids. “Her major at Sac State was Family and Consumer Science,” Bianchi said. “She wanted to have a big family and maybe work with kids as a social worker.” The couple attended Bayside Church in Granite Bay and a memorial fund has been established at the church to help the family. McDaniel said it’s important people know when traveling outside the U.S., regulations are not as stringent. “Nobody knows,” she said. “You’re not in the United States anymore. … We should all be aware. You can’t put all your trust in the resorts.” According to McDaniel, the couple was due to return home the day after their parasailing adventure. Fritz said people should think twice before doing water sports outside the U.S. “(Parasailing) is an unregulated water sport over there,” she said. According to the U.S. State Department website, “The water sports … in The Bahamas are not carefully regulated. Every year people are killed or injured due to improper, careless, or reckless operation. … Visitors should … insist on sufficient training before using the equipment. There have been reports that some operators do not actually provide insurance coverage even when the renter opted (and paid) for insurance coverage. Visitors should insist on seeing proof that operators have sufficient medical and liability insurance.” For more information on traveling abroad, visit travel.state.gov. * * * HOW TO HELP Bayside Memorial Fund Make checks payable to Bayside Church. In memo portion of check, write “Rodriguez Memorial Fund.” P.O. Box 2336, Granite Bay, CA 95746 All donations are tax deductible.