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'Double tragedy': Friends mourn 2 recent grads' deaths after crash

Two people are dead and one is injured after a major collision on the Red Hill Valley Parkway near King Street around 11:30 p.m.

Red Hill Valley Parkway reopened around 7 a.m., police still investigating

Friends have been leaving comments and messages expressing grief and support Wednesday on a photo posted to Jordyn Hastings' Facebook in which Olivia Smosarski is tagged. (Jordyn Hastings/Facebook)

Two young women who were close friends and recent graduates of local high schools died in a collision on the Red Hill Valley Parkway late Tuesday evening, prompting special prayers at their schools and messages of grief and support for their families on social media.

"Just doesn't seem real, or right," one person wrote on a Facebook photo of the pair.

A third woman was injured in the two-vehicle crash that occurred on the parkway just north of Greenhill Avenue around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. She has been treated for her injuries and released from hospital, police said.

Olivia Smosarski, a 2013 graduate of Bishop Tonnos Catholic Secondary School, and Jordyn Hastings, a 2013 graduate of St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary, died in the crash, the schools' principals confirmed. 

"We're hurting," said Susanna Fortino-Bozzo, prinicipal at St. Thomas More. "Today has been a very difficult, very challenging day."

The scene after a two-car collision that left two dead and one seriously injured. (Tony Smyth/CBC)
Fortino-Bozzo said the loss of the friends was a "double tragedy" for the two schools. Many students knew one or both of them, she said. 

Both Hastings and Smosarski had younger siblings that also attended the schools. Hastings' sister graduated last year from St. Thomas More, and Smosarski's younger siblings attend Bishop Tonnos —Gabby in Grade 11 and Max in Grade 10. 

"She was a beautiful girl, in and out, a vibrant spirit in our building," Bishop Tonnos principal Frank Ciancone said of Smosarski.

Ciancone said the mood in the school was subdued Wednesday after students learned the two friends were killed in the crash. 

"These students don't even know [Olivia], but they felt the loss of a fellow Titan," Ciancone said. "Once they know that someone has passed, that once upon a time she walked the halls of BT, they're sharing in the grief with the family."

It's unclear whether it was Smosarski or Hastings driving a 2007 Mazda northbound on the Red Hill Valley Parkway "when the vehicle drove across the grass median and into the southbound lanes," according to Hamilton Police. The Mazda was then struck by a southbound 2011 Honda minivan, police said. 

Paramedics Wednesday said a 28-year-old woman from the minivan was transported from the scene and taken to hospital for treatment before being released Wednesday.

Smosarski and Hastings were pronounced dead at the scene. 

The road was closed overnight and police re-opened it Wednesday morning. Police officers continue to investigate.

Police asked witnesses to contact Detective-Cst. Mathew Hewko at 905.546.4755.

kelly.bennett@cbc.ca | @kellyrbennett

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