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Three women, all from New Castle, died when their vehicle ran off Virginia 311 and hit a tree. They all graduated from the same high school and had connections to Virginia Western.
JOEL HAWKSLEY | The Roanoke Times
Carly Whiting of New Castle places a bouquet of flowers Monday at the scene of a fatal wreck on Virginia 311 in New Castle. Whiting said victim Carleigh Megan Taylor was her best friend.
Carleigh Megan Taylor
Tia Jordan Gardner
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Three young women from New Castle died in an automobile crash in Craig County late Sunday.
Megan Anne Bradley, 18, Carleigh Megan Taylor, 22, and Tia Jordan Gardner, 19, all of New Castle, died when Bradley lost control of a 2000 Isuzu Rodeo she was driving and hit a tree, according to Virginia State Police Sgt. Rob Carpentieri.
The Isuzu was traveling south on Virginia 311 and attempted to pass a 1991 Chevrolet Corsica that was making a left turn. The Isuzu ran off the road and struck a tree.
Bradley and Taylor, a passenger, died at the scene. Gardner, another passenger, was taken to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and died a short time later. According to police, Bradley was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Taylor was wearing a seat belt. It is unknown if Gardner was wearing a seat belt.
Two other female passengers in the Rodeo, Jessica Stebar, 19, of New Castle and a 16-year-old from New Castle were both injured and airlifted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Bradley, Taylor and Gardner were all graduates of Craig County High School, as is Stebar. The injured teenager is a senior at the school, according to Superintendent Kelly Wilmore.
Two counselors from Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare in Roanoke were brought in Monday to assist students at the high school. A school psychologist was also available to counsel students.
The high school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes organized a prayer vigil around the flagpole Monday morning as news of the crash spread. A memorial service will be scheduled later, the superintendent said. Images of blue ribbons sporting the words “Prayers for Craig County” were being widely shared on Facebook.
“We are such a small, tightknit community,” Wilmore said. “There’s no grand solution to how to get through this. Prayer and time, that’s about it.”
The identified victims all had connections to Virginia Western Community College. Bradley was a first-semester freshman, as is Stebar. Taylor and Gardner had both attended the college, according to Virginia Western spokesman Josh Meyer. Bradley also worked as a server at Mac and Bob’s Restaurant in Salem.
Meyer said that the college’s intervention counselor, Sherilyn Meixner, was available to assist students. Meixner can be reached at 857-6711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taylor, the oldest of the victims, worked as a residential counselor at Innovative Community Solutions, a Salem-based company that provides living arrangements for adults with developmental disabilities. Bo Miller, the executive director and CEO of Innovative Community Solutions, said that Taylor was “passionate” about her work with her clients.
“She could work with tough, difficult situations,” Miller said. “Carleigh would always go above and beyond and do that last little bit to make sure people were taken care of. She was very giving and would do anything for anybody.”
The driver of the Corsica, Nicholas Fisher, 19, of New Castle, and his two passengers were uninjured in the crash.
State police are continuing their investigation, according to a news release.
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