Staunton River Community Mourns Another Loss

Bedford Co., VA - Another week brings more tragedy for the Staunton River High School community with a second deadly accident involving a student Ashley Barton.

Around 9:15 p.m. Sunday, State Police say Barton, 17, swerved to miss a deer, overcorrected and hit a tree.

Barton was a junior at Staunton River and a cheerleader for the Golden Eagles. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

School is out this week for the holiday, but classmates are coming together. Students and community members plan to meet at the school around 7 p.m. Monday for an impromptu candlelight vigil.

"I just had to see it for myself. I didn't believe it. I didn't believe it last night. I made my dad drive me here last night to see the red and blue lights flashing, knowing that I wasn't going to see her again," said Camy Mullins, who cheered with Barton. "I want them to remember she had the brightest smile and was a kind and positive person."

"So outgoing. So loveable. She would do anything for anybody. It doesn't matter how small or how big. She would be there," said Katrina Dadian, Barton's aunt.

That's why Dadian felt the need to go to the place where her niece took her last breath. But she says just being here is extremely hard.

One is hard enough, but three deaths from one school alone is even harder to cope with.

"It doesn't get any easier. It's the same effect. Everybody is trying to come together and support each other," said Mullins. "I think we're gonna start the healing process all over again."

After visiting the crash scene Monday, Mullins was planning to attend Jacob Baird's funeral. Jacob and Katie Thurston were killed in the accident last week. Katie's visitation is Tuesday, and her funeral is this coming Sunday.

There is no word yet on arrangements for Ashley Barton.