Community Mourns Car Crash Victim - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Community Mourns Car Crash Victim

Shannon James Shannon James
Michaella Lopes (left) Michaella Lopes (left)

Ticonderoga, New York - April 22, 2008

Students in Ticonderoga were busy Tuesday, making a temporary memorial to Shannon James, the 16-year-old girl who died on Tuesday at the hospital in Burlington.

Her injuries stemmed from a car accident Monday morning on Route 22 in Putnam. James and four other friends were returning from a party when the accident happened. Sixteen-year-old Michaella Lopes, of Enosburg Falls, was also killed. Three male students suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The accident has left the town in shock.

"We have a letter going to the parents on how to talk to their children, and information on Web sites that may give them resources," said School Superintendent John McDonald. "Other than that, any individual requests that come in, we hope we can point them in the right direction."

The high school only has 350 students, and all of the students know each other, making the news of Shannon James' death even more tragic. Students say making the memorial helped in their grieving period.

"It's peace, love and happiness because Shannon was always happy and she was a hippie," said classmate Jake Harrington. "We wanted to make something special for her on a personal level."

"She was just awesome," classmate Geraldine Granger said. "She was always happy and didn't want people fighting, didn't want people upset. She was just great."

The school will be providing counseling for students for the rest of the week.

Police suspect that the two girls who were killed were not wearing their seat belts, and were thrown from speeding car, which caused their injuries.

Police also say the driver of the car, 16-year-old Dustin St. Andrews, of Ticonderoga, was speeding, under the influence of alcohol and did not have permission to use the car. He is now facing charges.

Jack LaDuke - WCAX News

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