Five teenage girls from Fairport were killed five years ago in a horrible car crash in Ontario County. They died suddenly, just days after graduating high school.
Hannah Congdon, Bailey Goodman, Meredith McClure, Sara Monnat and Katie Shirley were headed to Keuka Lake when they crashed into a semi in East Bloomfield.
They are now forever remembered as The Fairport Angels, and today loved ones again paused to remember. Early Tuesday morning, the families of the five girls honored their loved ones during a private mass at the Church of the Assumption in Fairport. It has been five years, but former Fairport High School principal Dave Paddock says the pain is still there.
"It's kind of all a feeling of numbness; that kind of you had when that happened," Former Fairport principal Dave Paddock says. "That always returns whenever you think about the girls."
Memories include flowers laid at the crash site, Friends and family gathering at what's now called Angel Hill at Fairport High School.
"Hannah was the kid that never didn't have a smile on her face, always had a smile," Paddock said. "Bailey was the goof-off really. Sara was the leader of the cheerleaders. Katie in my opinion, I always thought of her as a princess. And Meredith, the thing about Meredith was she came back."
Wayne Ackles taught three of the girls, but knew all five.
"To lose five in the manner that we lost them, just five outstanding people; it colors your outlook," Ackles said. "You hold your own kids a little bit closer at night because of that kind of thing."
Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero says text messages were sent and received from the driver's phone right before the crash, but no one knows for sure who had the phone. He's very sensitive to the feelings of the families.
"This remains I'm sure the worst nightmare than any parent can experience," Sheriff Povero said.
"This was an accident," Paddock said. "A terrible terrible accident with no blame."
To ensure the girls will never be forgotten, five trees now stand in a memorial outside the school. Like those trees, the angel's memory will continue to grow for years to come.
"They were going to do great things in this world," Paddock said. "They were all wonderful kids, and I want people to remember that."
The girls left a lasting legacy. Each of their charities raises money to help families in crisis in Fairport. On a larger scale, New York now has laws banning texting and driving because of the crash.