An Ulster County community mourns the death of Sarah Smith, a popular Marlboro high school student who died in a car accident this weekend. YNN's John Wagner has more on what students did to remember the teen, their first day back to school since the crash.
MARLBORO, N.Y. -- Memories are now all that remains of a well-liked Marlboro High School cheerleader. A car accident on a curvy road took the life of 16-year-old Sarah Smith. Monday morning, grief counselors were busy with students desperate for answers.
"There was lots of anger, and lots of pain, and lots of hurt there; and letting them know that we're a family a community that sticks together and there are people their for them," said Raymond Castellani, superintendent for Marlboro Central School District.
Smith and a classmate were being driven home by an 18 year old friend when his Ford Escape lost control around a curve, hitting a telephone pole, killing Sarah. The other two are in stable condition.
"It may take a while for us to all understand what happened, but like I said, this is a great community; we're going to be here for everybody," said Marlboro student Tyler Mastrantuono.
About 90 percent of students and teachers wore purple to class, Sarah's favorite color. An active member in drama and choral clubs, the easy going sophomore is remembered for her cheerful attitude.
"She was always so happy and her smile literally just lifted everybody else's life up," said Kristin Sierra, a Marlboro High School classmate.
"It was just very contagious and infectious and if she laughed, everybody was laughing," said Sarah Hollingsworth, a close family friend.
The Marlboro police chief met with eighth through twelfth grade individually, to dispel rumors and let students ask questions about what really happened.
"There was no signs of alcohol abuse, no signs of drug use," said Marlboro police chief Gerald Cocozza. "In actuality the driver was at home. Mr. Pierre was at home sleeping when he received a phone call from the two girls asking for a ride."
The chief said it's a tragedy, but a pure accident with excessive speed not a factor and no charges planned.
"Unfamiliarity with the road, possibly a driver distraction talking to the two girls, possibly an indication of a vehicle malfunction, a blown tire, we're looking into those aspects now," said Cocozza.
A memorial celebration of Sarah's life will take place on Thursday evening from 6:00pm-9:00pm at St. Mary's Church Hall, Grand Street, Marlboro to which family and friends are invited.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered on Friday morning at 11:00am at St. Mary's Church, on Route 9W in Marlboro, with Father Edward Bader officiating.
"If I could say anything, pray for them," said Sarah Hollingsworth, "because it's just a huge loss and no one's life is ever going to be the same without her."