Victims in fatal crash ID'd as high school students

December 15, 2009 1:12:24 PM PST
Dangerous fog and speed -- two things that may have led to a fiery crash that killed three teenagers. And now, we're learning new information about the victims. The teens were in a pickup truck that ran off Katy-Hockley Road Sunday morning in Katy. And now, a memorial to the victims continues to grow at the accident site. There are letters, flowers and hugs nearby.

Paris Arthur felt compelled see where it happened.

"Just to feel, you know," she said.

According to Katy police, a truck with three people inside was travelling fast south on Katy-Hockley Road just before 7am Sunday.

It was foggy. The truck ran a stop sign, left the road and crashed into a tree. It almost immediately caught fire, killing all three teenagers, one a popular Morton Ranch High School cheerleader and two recent Cinco Ranch High School graduates. The victims have been identified as 19-year-old Jonathan Fernandez, 16-year-old Taylor Contreras and 18-year-old Timothy Laufenberg.

Their friends describe the moment their lives changed.

"It didn't exactly click and I had to re-read the text six times and I was, like, 'No,'" said Kylie Dougherty.

"I was like, 'No it's not true. It didn't happen,'" added friend Lee Sellers.

"I started freaking out and didn't want to believe it," said Paris.

Katy ISD provided grief counselors for students and will continue to do so. At Morton Ranch, news spread fast. Besides being a cheerleader, friends say Contreras was in FFA and a good student.

Coping will make exam week hard, but Paris worries more about the teens' families.

"I can't think even think about her parents, what her parents are going through," she said. "Your parents aren't supposed to outlive their kids. It makes me sad to think about that, too."

No one yet knows why the teens were out that early in the morning. Katy police are still investigating. Meantime, friends of Contreras are gathering photos to put together a memory book for her family.


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