Police ID 4 teens who died after car flipped in Miramichi
'We are a community in grief' says Miramichi Police Force deputy chief Brian Cummings
Miramichi Police Force have confirmed the four deceased are Logan Matchett, 17, and Avery Astle, 16, of Strathadam, Emma Connick, who turned 18 Saturday, of Barnaby and Cassie Lloyd, 17, of Escuminac.
The accident happened around 10:30 p.m. on Nelson Street, north of the intersection with Route 118.
"We lost four very young lives tragically as a result of this accident," said Deputy Chief Brian Cummings.
The four teenagers were taken to Miramichi Hospital and died but only after what were described as heroic efforts to save them.
"There's been a lot of extremely heroic efforts and astounding work that went into trying to save the lives of these four young kids and it's a very tragic Easter Sunday that we gather on here today," said Cummings, who was visibly shaken and fought back tears during the media conference.
Cummings said while the investigation into the accident is still in the early stages, police have ruled out alcohol or drugs as a cause.
The four were travelling in a 2016 Nissan Rogue and police say speed and road conditions were likely the cause of the accident.
"At the time of the incident it was raining and the roads were wet," Cummings said.
But the deputy chief did caution that the investigation is still in the early stages and there is still work to do. Nelson Street remained closed for over 10 hours while the accident reconstructionist team examined the site.
Schools opened for counselling
Two were students at North and South Esk Regional High School in Sunny Corner, and two were students at Miramichi's James M. Hill Memorial High School.
Anglophone North School District said in a statement both high schools would be open Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. Grief counsellors were there for students.
"In difficult times like what we are now experiencing, it is important to support one another, and to look after one another," the statement read. "We encourage our students to reach out for any support they may need at this time."
Cummings encouraged students, parents, community members and first responders to attend counselling sessions.
"As you can well imagine, this is going to send a major ripple through our community for a considerable time to come. We have some families really, really hurting today. We are a community in grief."
Adam Lordon, the mayor of Miramichi, said it's "absolutely devastating for the community."
"My heart breaks for those teens and their families. The love and support and prayers of our entire community are with them today."
Miramichi Bay-Neguac MLA Lisa Harris said she learned of the accident when her husband, a teacher at James M. Hill Memorial High School, received a call from another teacher Sunday morning.
"It's just a major tragedy and a huge loss."
Harris said they know the students and families involved. "I can't imagine what they are going through today."
In a Facebook post, Miramichi MLA Michelle Conroy wrote that there were no words to describe the tragedy, heartbreak and loss.
"Our beautiful little city has once again been hit with the worst tragedy ... the loss of four young lives in a horrific accident."
Many have taken to social media to express their sympathy to the families and community. A vigil is planned for Sunday night at the former Nelson fire hall, which is next to where the accident occurred.