A reporter and editor at The Winters Express was killed when her car struck a tree and burst into flames late Monday night, the Express said.
The coroner's office has not yet positively identified the victim, but the Express said the Winters Police Department told the newspaper it was Julia Millon, 27. Millon was a contributing editor and city reporter for the Express.
Millon's car was traveling "at an unknown speed when it left the roadway" on County 99 in unincorporated Yolo County, the California Highway Patrol said. Millon was killed by the collision, the CHP said, and the incident is under investigation.
Millon was poised to take over the paper from managing editor Debra DeAngelo, who leaves this Thursday. DeAngelo said that despite being a journalist for only three years, Millon was "brilliant" and a quick study.
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"She was just so bright and so talented," DeAngelo said. "She was one of a kind. I just don't know that I will ever meet a girl like Julia again."
Millon grew up in Winters and was Winters High School's valedictorian in 2008, DeAngelo said. She was a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in sports medicine. She was an avid trail runner, DeAngelo said.
Tuesday was a rough day for the Express, she said.
"We've been crying and typing and crying and paginating," she said. "I didn't expect my last story as a newspaper editor to have to be this."