SHERWOOD, Ark – It’s been a tough week for those living in the community of Sherwood. Two current and three former Sylvan Hills high school students were killed in a car crash on Sunday night. The school and community have been mourning their loss and trying to honor them in every way they can.
Earlier this week, the school said over Facebook those involved in the tragic accidents were Susana Prime and Ava Luplow who were students at their school and Salomon Correa, Maggie Franco, Suzy and Andrea Prime who were recent graduates.
Laney Hopkins said they were her best friends, and she was devastated when she found out about their deaths. She added the teens were spending the week at Jackson Hole Bible College in Wyoming and were driving on their way back to Arkansas when the car crash happened, Hopkins says she left days earlier before the crash.
Hopkins said it was hard for her to believe when someone told her of the crash because she was also at Jackson Hole with the five teens and had left days earlier.
“I think the Lord just placed it on our hearts to go because he knew we needed to be there and spend that time with them,” Hopkins said. “We were so loving all week and I got to hug all of them goodbye.”
Hopkins said her time with them, while short-lived, was beautiful.
“They’re personalities just all week, all of their best qualities were just flowing out of them all week,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins noted that the teens were very active in their church, Faith Bible Fellowship Church in Sherwood.
“We were always here three times a week,” Hopkins said.
Elizabeth Dilts, who is a member of the church says the church meant the world to the five teenagers.
“They were all church camp counselors for my kids at summer camp,” Dilts said
Dilts said when the church learned of what happened, no one was alone.
“We’re so thankful all the families got to be here and had someone with them in the middle of the night to hear that,” Dilts said.
Dilts added that members inside the church are committed to helping the families, as they have made thank you cards to write to everyone and are handling the funeral arrangements.
“I’m kind of in charge of donations. All the support goes to the families,” Dilts said.
Dilts said the teenagers’ funeral will be held together on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 10 a.m., located at the Sylvan Hills High School Performing Arts Center. Hopkins said she hopes to honor her friends by doing what they loved.
“I just believe he wants us to live on through them and carry on the gospel about being bold in our faith,” Hopkins said.
Wyoming Highway Patrol officials said a Utah man is expected to face multiple felony charges after a crash, they say he caused, that resulted in the deaths of the five teenagers.
According to investigators, the driver was identified as 57-year-old Arthur Andrew Nelson.
Authorities said Nelson’s crash caused a chain reaction collision after driving on the wrong side of Interstate 80 on Sunday.
It is not yet known when Nelson’s first court appearance will be.