Clearfield High School students were in shock Friday after learning that two of their classmates died and three others were injured in a car accident that morning.
"I freaked out," said Lisa Thurgood, 16. "Everyone was in shock. We didn't know what to do or say or how to react."Other students said they had similar reactions when midway through the day Principal Tamara Lowe announced to the school that Sarah Van Komen, 16, and Jenny Barney, 15, both of West Point, died in the 8:50 a.m. crash. Also injured were Staci Mc-Kin-non, 16, Clinton, Nicole Criddle, 16, Syracuse, and Jed Hamblin, 16, West Point.
McKinnon was treated at Davis Hospital and released. Criddle was listed in serious condition at LDS Hospital, and Hamblin was listed as serious at University Hospital Friday night.
Suzi Grey, 16, said she saw Van Komen and Barney shortly before school started and learned they were planning to meet some friends to go out for breakfast.
Criddle drove the group to Doug & Emmy's Family Restaurant, 200 S. Main St., Layton. About 8:50 a.m., the kids were pulling out of the restaurant's parking lot onto Main Street when a southbound semitrailer truck driven by Tad McCardle, 31, Layton, struck their car, said Layton City police officer Shawn Lewis.
Apparently there was no speeding involved, but it was unclear whether the car had failed to yield to the oncoming truck, Lewis said. "It's a very busy restaurant, and a lot of vehicles park in the roadway."
It is possible parked vehicles may have obstructed Criddle's view as the car pulled out of the parking lot, he said. The impact pushed the car about 150 feet and killed Barney and Van Komen, who were riding in the back seat. Criddle and Hamblin were air-lifted to Salt Lake hospitals, and McKinnon was taken to Davis Hospital.
The next time Grey heard about her classmates was over the school's PA system.
"Principal Lowe said, `We have a sad announcement to make. Some of our students . . . died in a car accident.' (The students) burst into tears."
"I was shocked and frustrated," said Dan Johnson, a junior who had been dating Barney for a month. "A lot of people couldn't believe that it had happened. There was just a lot of sadness."
Lowe said that as soon as word reached her about the incident, she called the Davis School District Crisis Team to help students deal with the tragedy."It's a devastating thing for all of our staff and students," she said. "It's hard to com-pre-hend."
Crisis counselors will also be in the school beginning at 10 a.m. today and Monday for students and staff members who may need them, Lowe said. Students who wish to attend the funeral next week will be allowed to check out of the school with parental permission.
Students decided to dedicate Friday night's performance of the school's production of "Oklahoma!" to Van Komen, who had played a chorus part during Thursday's opening night, Lowe said.
"She was really a good actress," said Christina Tams, a junior who met Van Komen in the sixth grade. "We were really good friends. It's going to be hard when I go to school and she's not there."
Barney is best remembered as being a good athlete.
"I will really miss her; I will always remember her" said Johnson,
who met Barney while playing indoor soccer for the same team. "It was kind of love at first sight," he said.
The deaths of Barney and Van Komen have hit some students twice as hard because last fall they had to deal with the death of junior Cade Carlos.
"Any kind of death of high school kids that is sudden is tough to handle for all of us," Lowe said. "Our sympathies are with the families and their friends."
Staff members who have been in contact with the victims' families said the funerals will likely be held early next week, Lowe said.