GENEVA, Ala. (AP/WDHN) — Three 16-year-olds were killed and a fourth was seriously injured when a vehicle left a road and ran into trees on Christmas night in south Alabama, authorities said Thursday.
The dead were all cheerleaders at Geneva High School, said Geneva County Coroner Donny Adkinson.
“It’s just awful,” said Adkinson.
“These families lost three precious young ladies last night and two of them were injured,” Geneva Police Chief Tony Clemmons said. “I’m telling you the families need all the prayers we can get right now, and just hug your loved once out there and hug your kids.”
Geneva, a town of about 4,400 people, is located near the Florida line more than 100 miles south of Montgomery.
Adkinson said Addyson Martin, Emilee Fain, Cassidy Dunn, and two other friends had been together for Christmas at someone’s home and were headed elsewhere in small sport-utility vehicle that left a road and crashed into trees.
Martin, Fain and Dunn all died at the scene, Adkinson said. “The three that were deceased were in the front seat of the car,” he said.
Another girl who was in the car was seriously injured and was rushed to a hospital in Birmingham by helicopter ambulance, he said, and the fifth girl wasn’t seriously injured.
“Christmas will never be the same here in this great city,” said Geneva City School Board President, and Minister Association Russell Clausell. “I do know that one of the things that the city has been known for is rallying around a tragedy. We have rallied today and we will continue to rally, we will get through this, we will embrace and love on one another, we will embrace and love on the families.”
“This will be a memory that will come around every year at Christmas, First Baptist Church of Geneva Pastor Ed Scott said. “Christmas won’t be the same for a lot of people.”
Geneva police did not immediately release any details on the crash, but Police Chief Tony Clemmons posted on the department’s Facebook page asking people to pray for several families in town.
Authorities are still investigating to determine if any other factors were involved in the accident.