Four teenagers were killed in a tragic accident Saturday night as they attempted to push a stalled car down the road.
Authorities in the southern Indiana town of Cortland detailed that the accident occurred as the teenagers, who were all friends, were being driven to a slumber party.
Cara Selby, 37, was driving nine children, ages 12-16, to the party when her car broke down just a block away from the home where the party was being held. But when the group of girls got out to help push the SUV, tragedy struck.
Another SUV, driven by a 24-year-old woman, struck the group from behind, killing three instantly and injuring several others.
Three girls were rushed to local area hospitals for treatment after the crash. Those killed were identified as 14-year-olds Neveah Law of Brownstown and Jenna Helton of Seymour, 15-year-old Brittany Watson of Brownstown and 16-year-old Martin Martinez of Seymour. Selby’s own daughter, Victoria Valdivia, was among those injured.
Law’s mother, Torre Collins, took to Facebook following the accident, writing that “God gained a beautiful angel.”
“Please pray for all of the families involved,” she implored.
God gained a beautiful angel tonight. My daughter, Nevaeh Law and 3 of her friends were killed in a accident. Please…
Elizabeth Watson, 24, was behind the wheel of the Chevrolet Traverse which careened into the girls, causing both cars to skid for 200 meters before they came to a halt.
Local resident Harold Weddell told WAVE-TV that the accident occurred right outside his house. He said that vehicles are known to speed down the road where the collision took place.
“I’d like to head out here and add speed bumps,” he noted. “I’ve ended up hit twice out here. They head up along here way too fast and it’s just a habit.”
Helton’s father told The Seymour Tribune that his daughter was “a goodhearted girl that loved to be with her friends. [She was] always joking and laughing.”
“She loved her 4-year-old sister with Down syndrome. She was sweet and caring,” John Helton told the outlet. “She listened to my lecturing intently, wanting to always please me. She was my angel, and she will be terribly missed.”
Carissa Newcomb, 14, a freshman at Trinity Lutheran High School, told the Tribune that Helton was one of her best friends.
“I moved to Seymour in kindergarten, and Jenna was the only friend I had then,” she explained. “She was an amazing person and always had time for her friends. There were many times we would just stay at each other’s houses for days on end. It was always a good time with her.”
“There’s really no words to describe how much she meant to me and all of her friends,” Newcomb added. “We all love her and miss her so much.”
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Carothers said he was “really saddened” by the incident, adding that he had never seen anything like it.
Brownstown Central High students are remembered as sweet, kind and nice by faculty and students. Brittany Watson and Nevaeh Law are two of the four kids hit and killed in a car crash Saturday night in Cortland, Indiana. pic.twitter.com/XIPyvlMZZP
— Rachael Krause (@RKrauseWAVE) August 27, 2018
The principal of Seymour High School, where two of the deceased girls attended, said that there would be extra counselors, as well as youth ministers, at the school this week.
“Arrangements have not been announced yet. We will share that information with the students when they are released,” Principal Greg Prange said. “There are many family members, friends, and students, not only at SHS, but at area schools and communities, who are grieving this morning. We pray for peace, comfort, and understanding as we all go through this together.”
Words will never be enough. The pain will never go away, Nevaeh I love you so much.
On Sunday, a prayer vigil was held at Seymour High School in support of the victims’ family and friends, according to PEOPLE.
— Lexie Ratterman (@LRatterman_WDRB) August 27, 2018
“We want to take some time and pray,” said Pastor Andy Schroeder from Seymour Christian Church, who addressed the grieving community. “We want to take some time to love and to hug and to encourage and to cry and to just be there for each other.”
As many of you know, our community is suffering from the loss of 4 young teens Saturday evening. I know a couple of the…
“God knows the hurt,” the pastor continued. “He knows the pain, and he knows the tears, everyone that has fallen from our eyes,” He knows and he understands. And I know for us that’s hard to understand and to grab a hold of. But not only does God know, he cares. Evidence of that is right here. Look around and see the support of this community. God has placed it in the hearts of hundreds of people to come and to care.”
(H/T: The Seymour Tribune)