Students mourning, after losing 2 classmates in head-on crash

UPDATE: Police have identified the victims in Thursday's fatal crash as 17 year-old Vidal Pacheco and 18 year-old Dylan Hernandez.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Students at West High School are struggling to cope, after a horrible head-on collision killed two classmates, Thursday.

The crash, which took place near 700 N. 300 W., also sent two others to the hospital, including a 32 year-old pregnant woman.  Friday, somber students showed up at a makeshift memorial in the area, one small group at a time. 

"I keep on going from sadness to shock to anger..." said M.J. Powell, a friend of the teens killed in the crash.  "I have to confirm it with myself, and it almost seems unreal right now." 

One day earlier, witnesses said three teens went racing up 300 West in a Chevy Impala.  The car reportedly crossed over three lanes of traffic, jumped the center median, and struck a Honda Pilot with the pregnant woman inside.

Bystanders say they felt helpless. 

"[The teens] were embedded in the car pretty bad," one witness said. 

"I was standing at the back of the car looking through the rear window," said Jeffrey Pons, another witness.  "The driver was looking back at his friends... he was trying to talk to his friends," he recalled. 

Police later confirmed those two teenage passengers did die at the scene. 

Now, students at West High School say seniors especially are struggling to cope. 

"It's really depressing there, and a lot of kids decided not to go to school today because it was just too hard for them," Powell said. 

Salt Lake City School District made sure everyone who did go to school Friday had access to grief counselors. 

"I can honestly say today our hearts are broken," said Jason Olsen, a district spokesperson.

With tears in their eyes and prayers in their hearts, friends are now saying goodbye.

"Two people like that -- it's hard to find people like that.  Super genuine, authentic, funny... You know, you're walking down the halls and [realize] you're not going to be able to see these kids anymore or wave at them, and it's hard because I'm going to miss them," Powell said. 

Police say the teen driver who allegedly caused the crash has some injuries but is expected to be okay.  Officials also confirmed that the pregnant woman in the Honda Pilot delivered her baby, who was breathing on its own as of Friday morning. 

Investigators initially said they were looking for another vehicle that the Impala appeared to be racing.  Friday, they were following up on leads but were unable to confirm or deny another vehicle's possible involvement. 

 


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