SUV collides with car in Tennessee crash, killing 5
Posted: Monday, October 27, 2008 9:13 pm
HUNTSVILLE (AP) — A rural East Tennessee community was grieving Saturday for four high school cheerleaders who died in a fiery car crash hours after they had been cheering on their football team.
A sport utility vehicle carrying the cheerleaders collided with an oncoming car late Friday night on a wet, foggy highway in Scott County, northwest of Knoxville, authorities said. A passenger in the car also was killed.
Ashley Mason, 15, had been ejected from the vehicle and taken to University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. She died Saturday night, said Myala Romines, an administrative supervisor. “It’s more than a shock and we are just horrified,” said Cynthia Reynolds, the cheerleading coach at Scott High School. She said the girls went out after the game to celebrate another cheerleader’s birthday. “They were really, really close.”
Police identified the other three teenagers killed as Scarlette A. Hill, 17; Jaime Hill, 15; and driver Shirley N. Hughett, 16.
A passenger in the car, Jeweline Ledbetter King, 49, was killed. King’s 22-year-old daughter-in-law, Miranda King, was sitting in the back seat and lost her unborn child because of injuries from the crash.
Investigators believe the crash was caused in part by the slick and foggy conditions, and a preliminary report indicated none of the girls in the SUV was wearing a seat belt, said Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Scott High School Principal Bill Hall said the teens were considered leaders on the squad and were well-liked in the close-knit school of 800 students.
“We’re all devastated,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and the other victims that were involved.”
The car’s driver, Malcum King, 22, and a 10-month-old child, Aiden Wilson, also were injured and taken to a hospital.