Briarcrest holds vigil for students killed in weekend crash

Briarcrest students, faculty remember girls killed in crash
(Photo Source: Facebook)
(Photo Source: Facebook)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

EADS, TN (WMC) - Briarcrest High School held a prayer and balloon release for the families of Maddie Kruse, Rachel Lynch, Kara Holden, and Caroline Kam.

More than 1000 people filled Sparks Chapel to pray for the four rising seniors. Students, faculty, parents and family filed into the chapel, hugging one another and crying.

Investigators say Kruse and Lynch died at the hands of a drunk driver over the weekend.

The school sent out a notice asking the community to "pray for these families and students at this difficult time."

Rachel Lynch and Maddie Kruse, both 17, died in a car accident at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, after police say 32-year-old Melandus Penson drifted into oncoming traffic on Highway 78 in Marshall County, Mississippi.

The school says Lynch was very involved in the school's theatre department, while Kruse served as the Saints softball team's shortstop and played on the golf team.

According to the Mississippi Highway Patrol, Penson is charged with two counts of DUI death and two counts of DUI injury. He is being held at the Marshall County Jail.

Caroline Kam's grandmother, Roxanne Anderson, was driving the teens to the beach for Kam's birthday, when the accident happened.

We are awaiting Holden's condition. We do know she suffered a broken collar bone and broken ribs, and is expected to recover. Kam is in fair condition.

The Kams are at Baptist Memorial DeSoto and Kara Holden is at LeBonheur Children's Hospital.

Those participating in the service signed a tribute, the school principal and chapel director spoke, followed by a musical tribute and prayer.

After the service, a balloon release took place outside the Sparks Chapel.

Several parents left teary-eyed, gripping their children.

No media interviews were permitted, but coverage of the balloon release was allowed.

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