A scolding may have saved 12-year-old Emily Litt's life because five classmates she would have been with were struck and killed by a speeding car that jumped a curb.

Emily's mother, Pixie, said her daughter was at the home of 13-year-old Jessica McKeefry when Mrs. Litt ordered her daughter home because "she called her brother something like a fathead."The other girls were "just going outside as I was leaving," Emily said.

When she got home, her mother told her she was grounded and would have to spend the rest of Friday evening with her family. But she allowed Emily to return Jessica's bicycle, and "I got there five seconds after the car hit that tree," Emily said.

The car had already struck and killed Jessica and four other friends by the time it hit the tree and stopped.

"I feel guilty that she was not there - that I was one of the lucky parents," Mrs. Litt said Sunday. "I feel terrible for those families."