A memorial is growing on a Rockland County road where a high schooler was killed in a car crash early Saturday morning, in which officials say the 17-year-old driver was drunk.
Dozens of tearful classmates were seen bringing flowers at the scene on Route 202 in Montebello, where 16-year-old Jacqueline Zangrilli died while riding in the backseat of a car that crashed just before 3 a.m. One of the other teens who survived the crash was among those who came by on Monday, his arm bandaged in a cast and overcome with emotion, comforted by his parents.
Investigators believe that speed was likely a factor in the crash. The 2003 Jaguar sedan split a utility pole in half before flipping on its side.
Zangrilli attended Suffern High School along with the other occupants in the car, three boys and another girl. Three of the others were hospitalized following the crash, and are expected to fully recover. It was not clear if they were wearing seatbelts.
"I have a daughter who will be 14 on Friday and the thought of her going on the roads with friends," said parent Victoria Gluck. "I gave her extra hugs."
The driver of the car was arrested, with police charging the teen with second-degree manslaughter and DWI. he was later released to his parents. Police are not sure where or how he got the alcohol, but additional people could face charges as well.
On Friday, there was a big football game hosted by Suffern High School, and student said there were parties after the game. Just last week, local cops were at the high school giving a presentation about the dangers of drinking and driving.
"It's devastating, doesn't seem real," said Malcolm Sloan, a friend of Zangrilli. "We know what we are and aren't supposed to do, and it's devastating to see people go out there and make these mistakes that we learn time and time again are not acceptable."
The Suffern community has pulled together, using the hashtag #suffernstrong and raising more than $100,000 for Zangrilli's mother to pay for her funeral, which is scheduled for Thursday.