Three recent graduates of a Fairfax County high school were killed in a crash in Texas early Friday, and two other young Virginians traveling with them were injured.
Kyle Mathers, 19, Dale Neibaur, 19, and Holly Novak, 18, died after a wrong-way driver hit their car head on in Greenville, northeast of Dallas, Texas officials said. The three young adults were 2014 graduates of Herndon High School, a Fairfax County Public Schools representative confirmed.
A 19-year-old man, who also graduated from Herndon High, and an 18-year-old woman were injured in the violent crash and rushed to a local hospital.
They were headed home from a road trip to a gaming convention in Austin, devastated friends said.
"I can't imagine my life without them," fellow Herndon High graduate Cameron Wilhelm said.
All four Herndon High graduates played in the school band, band leader Kathleen Jacoby told News4 on Friday evening.
"These students are so loved by their community, by the members of the band, by the members of Herndon High School," she said through tears. "They're leaving such a big hole."
Mathers was the pep band manager, Neibaur was trombone section leader and Novak was drum major, friends said.
A 78-year-old man driving a silver Mercury was driving east in the westbound lanes of Interstate 30 just before 2 a.m. when he crashed head-on with an SUV carrying the five young adults, Texas Department of Public Safety officials told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth.
The driver of a tractor-trailer approaching the scene was unable to stop and crashed into both vehicles, causing the SUV to catch fire, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported. The wrong-way driver, Kenneth Gordon Frazier, of nearby Royse City, died after the crash. His dog, which was in the car with him, also died.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.
A vigil for the victims is planned for 6 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon.
Wrong-way crashes in Texas are on the rise, according to an investigation by NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. In the past four years, at least three wrong-way crashes have occurred on a seven-mile stretch of I-30 near where the crash Friday occurred.
Texas leads the nation in wrong-way crashes, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.