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West L.A. Man and His Bride-to-Be Become Face of Tragedy

Michael Myvett worked with autistic children at a center in Torrance. Fiance Mattison Haywood was planning on becoming a doctor. But more than anything, they were defined by their love.

With identification most of the Southern California high school students who perished in the fiery bus crash in Northern California Thursday delayed, one adult couple has become the face of the tragedy.

A FedEx big rig crossed the median on I-5 in Orland, clipping a car, then crashing into a charter bus carrying high school students on their way to Humboldt State University for a preview weekend. Ten died, five adults and five students.

Not unlike the students -- who were primarily inner-city children and those who would become the first in their families to go to college -- the smiling Facebook photos of Mattison Haywood, 25, and Michael Myvett were full of hope and promise.

The couple met while Haywood was a freshman at Humboldt. She would go on to get her degree at Concordia University in Irvine and had plans to become a doctor, according to her family in the NBC video above.

Meanwhile, Myvett worked with autistic children at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Torrance

A colleague there, Sarah Cho, told the New York Times, "He was very bubbly and positive, even on the most challenging days. With kids with autism, sometimes they have a bad day. And Michael was always able to be positive with those kids and those families.”

But more than the sum of their career goals, the couple was known for their love. On a Christmas trip to Paris a few months ago, Myvett pulled out a ring and proposed in the most romantic of settings. Haywood's family insists the proposal came as a complete surprise. 

"Had one of them survived, they would have been a wreck," said Haywood's father John Haywood said. "Because they were two peas in a pod."




Laura April 12, 2014 at 12:14 PM
Horribly sad.
nitagregory April 12, 2014 at 06:20 PM
Sad
tracy abbott cook April 13, 2014 at 10:48 AM
You know we hear horrible stories every day and I guess I get numb to alot as a protetive device, I'm sure. But this one really hit me. All those kids and the adults on a mission to improve their lives or the lives of others. Made me so sad. And this couple sounds so kind and lovely. Thank you for sharing it. Although it hurts.
Cynthia Garcia April 13, 2014 at 11:45 AM
My son went on a school trip to SF and is coming home today. I heard about the crash the first time it was broadcast and was worried sick. This tragedy is very heart wrenching for a parent like me and as a person. My prayers go out to those that lost their lives & their families as well as to those that were directly affected by the accident.
Penny Arévalo April 13, 2014 at 11:52 AM
Tracy, I'm with you. Obviously, being a journalist, there are terrible stories everyday. But this one cuts through bone. It's just horrific in every way and has ties to people up and down the state, with LA County, Riverside County and Orange County hit hard.

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