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Plymouth Suffering in Devastating Aftermath of Deadly Wreck

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Friends and strangers alike are visiting the accident site and leaving flowers.
PLYMOUTH — A small, eastern North Carolina community ispreparing for funerals and memorial services for 10 young people whoselives were cut short when one of them made a deadly mistake. Theimpact of an accident Wednesday is hitting home for young drivers andtheir parents.

The close-knit community of Plymouth is in mourning. Family, friends,schoolmates, even strangers, all devastated by a deadly crash,prayed and sought counseling at Plymouth High School in Washington County Thursday. The 10 students died when the driver of the Ford Explorer theywere riding in tried to pass three vehicles on a slippery road. That riskymove put them in the path of a tractor-trailer that demolished theExplorer, leaving everyone inside dead.

Shauna White took advantage of counseling services at the school. Shesaid the hardest thing to deal with is that everyone knew everyone else atthe school.

By Thursday, there were wreaths of flowers in the mainhallway of theschool. In an area restaurant, workers made red ribbons for customers towear in memory of the teens. And, for reasons they couldn't explain, manywere drawn to the crash site where they placed flowers in memory of theyoung victims. Albert Lewis was there. He said the whole situation justdidn't seem real.

The entire community is grief stricken as most just try to copewith the loss. A local florist in Plymouth said he was hurrying to makearrangements for several funerals. Firefighters and other emergencyworkers who were at the accident scene Wednesday afternoon went throughprivate de-briefings to help them cope with the results they witnessed ofthe violent deaths. Even strangers felt the impact that rippled throughthe tiny town, but there weren't many. It seemed everyone in town knew atleast one of the 10 students.

A community-wide memorial service will probably be scheduled, but planners want to wait until individual services have been scheduled beforethey set a date and time.

Anyone wishing to express sympathy is asked to send donations to theBand Memorial Fund, Plymouth High School, P.O. Box 827, Plymouth,NC, 27962.

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