The incident happened in Sarpy County late Monday, with the girls all members of Gretna High School, reported 6News.
Alexandria Minardi, 15, Addisyn Pfeifer, 16, Kloe Odermatt, 16, Abigail Barth, 16 died on the spot while Roan Brandon, 15, survived.
Barth was driving a Ford Fusion when she lost control of it, the car hit the guardrail, went into a deep, narrow gorge, and caught fire. Sarpy County officials told 6News that the car was immersed in flames when they arrived on the scene.
Officials said that speed contributed to the crash, according to Wesh2.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Gretna community tonight as they mourn the loss of four Gretna students. The students were killed in a car crash in Sarpy County late Monday night. We support their families, friends and loved ones during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/hQ4cLN61bq
— Omaha Police Dept (@OmahaPolice) June 19, 2019
“As far as the accident is concerned, that is an ongoing investigation and situation. We certainly owe it to the families to get to the bottom of what happened, not only for their sake but also to see what we can do to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again,” said Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis, according to Wesh2.
Davis said that Brandon is gravely injured but she’s very likely going to survive. “We are told that she has suffered serious injuries, but at this point it looks like she’s going to make it, which is good news,” said Davis.
Gretna Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Riley told Wesh2 that the school community is in mourning and counselors have been supporting grieving students.
— Lauren Diffey (@lo_daddy_01) June 19, 2019
Riley said the five friends were “inseparable” and were active in various school activities including athletics. “These are good girls, they’re smart girls, they’re the closest of friends,” Riley said.
“They come from good families and families that monitor their behavior closely,” he said.
Students Mia Huffman and Maddie Peterson who were friends with the girls left flowers at the crash site. They said they could not believe that such a thing could ever happen.
“I just, like, was so shocked and just, like, shaky,” Peterson told 6News. “I know everyone thinks, like, I think that everyone’s invincible. It really does happen, and this is, so, like, an eye-opener.”
A Gretna school club said in a post on Facebook on June 20 that Brandon was “devastated” hearing about the death of her friends and is being supported by a grief counselor.
“She will have surgery for her broken clavicle in the next week or so. And then grafting in the coming weeks. Our goal is to have her home by her 16th birthday and healthy for the start of school. Just know that your prayers have made a difference,” wrote G1 Volleyball Club.
The club wrote that the community is in touch with the parents of the deceased girls.
“We are eternally grateful for their families’ support and will do anything we can to ease their pain and love them in their time of unbelievable sadness. We are taking one precious day at a time,” wrote G1 Volleyball Club.
City of Gretna Mayor Jim Timmerman offered his sympathy to the mourning community. “To the families who are suffering from the tragic accident, the City of Gretna expresses heartfelt sympathy. The entire Gretna Community shares in your pain, grief, and sadness. On behalf of the citizens of Gretna and the Gretna City Council and staff, our thoughts and prayers are with you,” he said, according to 6 News.
— MNHS Activities (@MNHSActivities) June 19, 2019
A fundraising campaign started for the girls on GoFundMe said the community in Omaha is heartbroken.
“All throughout today, our hearts have been aching for the family and friends of all 5 of these Gretna students, so we decided during our team meeting that we wanted to show our support and unite as a community to help those suffering in disbelief, pain, and grief,” said the campaign.