A small N.B. town is “on its knees” following an Easter weekend car crash that claimed the lives of four teens.
Police believe treacherous road conditions and speed may have contributed to the single vehicle crash near Miramichi late Saturday.
Seventeen-year-old Cassie Lloyd, 18-year-old Emma Connick, 17-year-old Logan Matchett and 16-year-old Avery Astle were in the vehicle when it veered off a wet rural road and landed upside down in a ditch filled with deep icy water.
“CPR was continued until almost four o’clock in the morning,” Miramichi Police Deputy Chief Brian Cummings told CTV Atlantic.
“And there were points where it looked like there were some gains being made, but they were just in the water for too long.”
Alcohol or drugs have been ruled out of the investigation, Miramichi police told CTV Atlantic.
“Two is devastating, four brings the community to its knees,” Deputy Chief Cummings added.
Extra counsellors and staff were at schools Tuesday, to help students cope with the deaths of four schoolmates.
The Anglophone North School District confirmed Lloyd and Connick attended James M. Hill Memorial High School in Miramichi.
Matchett and Astle attended North and South Esk Regional High School in nearby Sunny Corner.
Heidi Ryder, principal of James M. Hill Memorial, said students, staff and the entire community are grieving the loss of "four beautiful and talented young people."
"Cassie and Emma were leaders within our Tommie community, and members of this year's graduating class," said Ryder.
"Cassie excelled academically and had fielded multiple university scholarship offers. Emma was committed to making a difference for children in Uganda through her Passion Project, WRED (World Reality Education) and involved in Rotary Interact."
David Cripps, principal of North and South Esk Regional, said students and staff were "devastated by the loss of Logan and Avery."
"Both were great students in the classroom and contributed to the school community through athletics, extra-curricular activities and leadership," said Cripps.
"We will remember them always as treasured members of our school's community. Always smiling, Logan was extremely outgoing and friendly.
“Avery was a fantastic kid who was so kind to his peers and his teachers.”
In a statement Monday, district superintendent Mark Donovan said the outpouring of support since the tragic accident had been "truly admirable."
"The district is truly grateful for the compassion being demonstrated for our students and families, not only from the Miramichi region, but from across the province," said Donovan.
N.B. premier Blaine Higgs called the crash a shocking tragedy.
“My prayers and thoughts are with the families and the community,” he said.
Ann Marie Legresley organized a candle-lit vigil Sunday night, that was attended by more than 300 people.
“I just created the event on Facebook in the hopes that I could get the kids together before they actually faced each other at school after such a tragedy,” Legresley said.
“I was heartbroken for the families.”
--- With files from The Canadian Press and CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker