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Cabot community in mourning after overnight crash leaves 4 dead | News

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Cabot community in mourning after overnight crash leaves 4 dead

CABOT, Ark. (KTHV) - An overnight car crash in White County left three teens and one adult dead.

Around 10:40 p.m. October 31, two former Cabot High School students Alexandria Simpkins, 20, and Codi Rice, 19, along with two current Cabot High School students Sydney Shoemate and Brooke Butler were involved in a single-vehicle accident.

"We received the news early this morning, and it's just been a devastating day," said Cabot Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tony Thurman. "The first thing that hits you, is as a parent, and a parent of a teenager, it's that nightmare. And of course when you know who's involved, it makes it even more traumatic." 

Dr. Thurman opened the school's doors Sunday for counseling, so that the community could mourn the loss of those four girls. Alana Graham taught one of the students who died in the crash. She told THV11 that counselors and local priests came out to help some of the teachers with grieving students. 

"They're just confused right now. They just don't understand why things like this happen, and it's important for us as adults and for our counselors to be there to support them," said Graham.

"They'll be desks empty tomorrow in classrooms. It's something that's going to be a challenge to work through," Dr. Thurman.

The report made by Arkansas State Police also stated that the roads were wet, and it was foggy at the time of the accident.

Dr. Thurman issued this statement on the Cabot Public Schools' website at 1:34 p.m. November 1, 2015:

"The Cabot School District is saddened to learn about the tragic automobile accident this weekend involving several current and former Cabot High School students. This is a difficult time for our district and it will be an extremely emotional week for our students. We will be providing support and extra counselors will be available as long as needed. Please keep the families involved, students, staff, and the Cabot community in your thoughts and prayers."

A prayer service was held on Sunday night at Cabot's United Methodist Church. There were more than 200 people in attendance. The church had originally scheduled for the service to be held later in the week, but was overwhelmed with the response from the community. Some who attended felt that those in the area, especially Cabot High School students, needed a place of refuge.  

"Tonight our Youth Minister Shane Staton opened up our church for that, so that kids can come and not answer the question why, but be with each other to grieve, because that's going to be a process," said John Shirron. 

The youth minister as well as the pastor stayed after the service to talk to the families and others.

A prayer vigil is being held at 5:30 p.m. Monday night at the Cabot High School Auditorium.