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A pair of teenage girls and former classmates died together in an early morning car crash on the way to the University of Kentucky.
Marissa Elmore, age 19 and Destinee Barr, age 18, were the best of friends according to Elmore's Cousin Chelsea Sanders. "They met in middle school and Destinee was always here for Marissa's birthday and everything," said Sanders.
Late Thursday night the girls were traveling to Lexington to meet up with University of Kentucky Freshmen Justin Clayton and Zac Lamkin for Halloween. Clayton said they called saying the were 30 minutes away but never showed up. "We we just waiting outside in this hurricane like weather we didn't know what was wrong and we couldn't figure it out," said Clayton. Police said Barr's car t-boned a pickup truck in a storm, killing the two girls on KY Highway 341 in Midway just after midnight. Sanders said, "I didn't believe it was real. I just remember waking up to my mom screaming."
Versailles Police Department Lieutenant Daniel Clark said alcohol was found in Barr's car. Woodford County Coroner Ronald Owens said wind and rain likely caused the crash. Toxicology results will take weeks.
Lamkin said "I was shocked, we didn't think it was real."
The friends all graduated in May from North Bullitt High School. Barr played softball while Elmore participated on the cheer team. Principal Jeffrey Marshall started the day with a moment of silence telling teachers and students about the accident. Marshall said, "We've had some students come down and talk to counselors. Grief is a complex process and we've had students down here visibly upset."
As loved ones in this tightly knit community continue to grieve, they say they will focus on the way these girls lived instead of the tragic way they died. Sanders said, " Whether it was good or bad day Marissa always had a smile on her face. She had big ambitions and always wanted to go out and do other things and help other people. She was a protector. "
There was a third friend in the car with the girls who survived the crash. Miranda Smith is in fair condition at UK hospital in Lexington. Police say the pickup truck driver was not injured.