Woman, 21, Mourned by Family and Softball Community After Fatal Calif. Crash: 'Love of My Life,' Says Mom

Makayla Bernald, 21, died in a single-car collision on Friday in Arcata, California, according to authorities

Makayla Bernald
Photo: College of the Redwoods Softball/Facebook

Makayla Bernald's loved ones are in mourning after the 21-year-old was killed in a single-car collision last week.

The California Highway Patrol reported that Bernald died Friday morning when her 2001 Toyota Sequoia went off Highway 101 in Arcata, flipped and crashed into a barrier, according to ABC affiliate KRCR. As a result of the crash, Bernald suffered fatal injuries.

In a statement released by the California Highway Patrol, officials said that drugs and alcohol were not a factor in the collision, per the outlet. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Bernald was a pitcher for Mendocino College's Lady Eagles Softball team and the recipient of the 2022 Bay Valley conference pitcher of the year award, per KRCR.

A GoFundMe campaign set up to assist Bernald's family, which has raised nearly $16,000 as of Tuesday afternoon, described her as a person whose "smile lit up the room."

"To know her was to love her. Her smile lit up the room," a message on the page read. "In this world, she will never know the impact she had on all of us who knew her. She will be forever missed but never forgotten. Fly high baby girl We love you."

On Facebook, Bernald's mother, Stacy Buller Minnick, called her daughter the "love of my life."

"For those of you that have not heard… I lost my daughter Makayla Bernald in a car accident this morning," she wrote. "She was the best part of us all… I always thought of her as the little engine that could… she was [always] the rock to my roll and the love of my life."

She added: "I keep expecting her to walk in and tell me how her day went and to climb up in my lap and give me a kiss and tell me she loves me…..I am so lost with out you boo…I will always love you and know that I am so proud of the woman that you have become."

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The Mendocino Colleges Lady Eagles Softball team also released a statement on social media.

"It is with heavy hearts that we bring this news," they wrote. "Makayla was a member of our 2022 Lady Eagles Softball team and was an [integral] part of our success. She earned the Honor of Bay Valley Pitcher of the Year. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Makayla's family. You will be missed but never forgotten."

The College of the Redwoods' softball team, where Bernald began her collegiate career in 2021, shared a separate tribute.

"Our hearts go out to her family, friends, and the softball community in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties," they wrote. "Her pink face mask and skills in the circle will always be remembered."

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