Hundreds attend vigil at church for 4 Stoughton H.S. students killed in car crash

STOUGHTON, Mass. (WHDH) – Hundreds of people attended a vigil at a Stoughton church Monday to remember the four Stoughton High School classmates killed in a car crash in East Bridgewater on Saturday.

“Four of them, one is such a tragedy, four is almost unimaginable,” said Father Joseph Mazzone of St. James Catholic Church, where the vigil was held. “It’s so hard to wrap our heads around this.”

Christopher Desir, 17, of Brockton, Eric Sarblah, 17, of Stoughton, Nick Joyce, 16, of Stoughton, and David Bell, 17, of Stoughton, were all killed in the crash that happened on West Street at around 4 p.m. Three were pronounced dead at the scene and a fourth later died at the hospital. The 17-year-old driver of the car, whose name has not been released, is being treated at Boston Medical Center for injuries sustained in the crash. Their condition is unknown.

Officials gathered outside the Stoughton Town Hall Monday afternoon for a moment of silence. Ribbons in black and orange, the high school’s colors, have been draped across the town in honor of the victims. Ribbons were also handed out at Monday’s vigil by Lilia Elkins, a classmate of the victims.

“They were amazing students, amazing guys, biggest smiles in the world,” said Elkins. “It’s a shame they had to lose their lives.”

Students participated in the vigil at the church, reading poems and scripture and singing.

“It was very beautiful, very heartwarming. There was a young woman singing, it brought me to tears. I know it brought a lot of people to tears,” said Elkins.

Authorities are now working to determine what caused the crash. Witnesses said the car catapulted over a stone wall and bounced off the front porch of a home before slamming into a tree. Authorities are also looking into speed, weather conditions, distracted driving and impairment as possible factors in the crash.

While addressing the media in front of the high school Sunday, Stoughton Superintendent Marguerite Rizzi confirmed all five teens in the car were Stoughton High School students. Joyce and David were promising athletes on the football, basketball and track teams.

Calling the situation the “worst nightmare of any school administrator,” Rizzi opened the high school Sunday for any students, faculty and staff members who wanted to come together to grieve. The school opened as scheduled on Monday with grief counselors on hand, she said.

In a statement, Rizzi said, “There are no words to articulate the impact of this loss.”

“To our students, I will say this: This is a shock and a trauma for our entire community. It will not make sense because it does not make sense. For students, especially those who know the classmates involved in the crash, you will likely feel confused, angry, and sad, and sometimes all at the same time. You are not alone in your grief and you should not feel alone,” Rizzi said. “Know that the adults in our community will feel the same way.”

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