2 Ala. High School Students, Both 17, Killed in Car Crash: 'I'm Angry and I'm Numb,' Says Friend
A community in Alabama is mourning the loss of two 17-year-old girls who officials say were killed in a car crash.
In a statement to PEOPLE, a spokesperson for Baker High School in Mobile confirmed the victims in Friday's crash as students Hannah Wright and Rene Nguyen.
"We are deeply saddened by the deaths of two of our students, Hannah Wright and Rene Nguyen, and we extend our deepest sympathy to their families and friends," the statement reads. "We are keeping their families in our thoughts, and we are respecting their privacy during this difficult time."
The Prichard Police Department told FOX affiliate WALA and CBS affiliate WKRG that the crash took place Friday evening as the friends were driving on University Blvd. in Eight Mile.
Authorities said the girls failed to stop at a stop sign and hit a tree head-on at the intersection to US-45.
A shift supervisor on patrol eventually spotted the wrecked car at about 8:40 p.m., according to WALA. Both girls were later pronounced dead at the scene by county EMS, WKRG reported.
At this time, the cause of the crash is unknown. Police said they do not know how fast the girls were driving at the time of the collision and a toxicology report is currently pending, according to WKRG.
A spokesperson for the Prichard Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Days after the tragedy, Wright and Nguyen's loved ones gathered at the scene of the crash to set up a makeshift memorial for the teens, WALA reported.
Several of their classmates also spoke to the local outlet, expressing their heartbreak and disbelief over the incident.
"Overall, I'm angry, and I'm numb to it, 'cause I don't want to believe it," Baker High School junior Emmaly Abrams said of Wright. "I wish that I could have one last conversation with her, and I just want to give her a hug and just hear her voice one last time. I'd do anything for that right now."
"I know she would want me to stay strong, so I'm gonna stay strong just for her," she continued of the teen, who was an honors student at Baker High. "And me knowing that she lived life to the fullest, that's another reason why I'm glad she got to do all she did. Because she got to enjoy the time that she did have. But, I miss her."
Fellow Baker High student Jaleh Bakhtiar told WALA she was best friends with Wright and that they worked together at Krispy Kreme.
"She was really the most beautiful, like genuine, caring person I've ever met in my life," she told the outlet, adding that Wright enjoyed the beach and listening to music. "She was always happy, and she made everyone around her happy."
Bakhtiar said Nguyen was considered the "life the party" and someone who was always in good spirits.
A candlelight vigil for the teen girls was planned for Wednesday but Bakhtiar told WALA that they had to postpone it due to inclement weather.
As loved ones continue to grieve, many are calling for better safety measures at the intersection where the crash occurred.
"They definitely should've had a light already prior to any accidents," a teen, who knew the girls, told WKRG at the accident site. "I know there was one before Hannah and Rene even happened and they still didn't put up anything more than a sign."
"And I think that's not enough," the friend added. "It shouldn't take a car wreck with two 17-year-olds dying to realize that."
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