Flowers were piled high in a makeshift memorial near Needham High School as students returned for classes Monday morning, marking the area where two classmates were fatally struck by a car over the weekend.
Talia Newfield, 16, and Adrienne Garrido, 17, were walking Saturday in the area of Webster and Holland streets near the high school where they were both juniors when they were hit, according to Needham police.
School Superintendent Dan Gutekanst acknowledged Monday morning it was not a normal school day for students.
“The entire Needham community is mourning the loss of two energetic, athletic, caring and loving daughters, sisters, and friends,” he said in a statement.
On Sunday, students gathered at the high school where grief counselors were on hand, according to The Boston Globe. The town’s Youth & Family Services announced it will extend its hours Monday to offer support following the “tragic and traumatic weekend.”
A memorial for 2 Needham High School students continues to grow as their classmates head back to school today. The 16&17 year old girls died after being struck by a car Saturday night. #wcvb pic.twitter.com/lEvv2VhUIL
— Katie Thompson (@KThompson_WCVB) February 12, 2018
“We will continue to work with our community to start the healing process for the tragic events that occurred last night,” Police Chief John Schlittler said at a press conference Sunday.
The Norfolk District Attorney’s office said Monday morning the crash remained under investigation and no charges have been issued.
Needham police received a report of a crash involving pedestrians around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, according to Schlittler. At the scene, officers found the two teens with “significant injuries.”
Newfield was transported to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Needham where she was pronounced dead, according to the police chief.
Garrido was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston in critical condition. Police announced Sunday evening that she had succumbed to her injuries.
The DA’s office, state, and local police are investigating the crash.
“We’re people too, we have emotions, and I know they’re heartbroken,” Schlittler said at Sunday’s press conference on how his officers were doing. “It’s tough. We’ll have grief counselors for our officers too. It was difficult for all involved.”
The police chief said the investigation is still in its “early stages.” The driver of the vehicle did stop, he said.
Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said investigators are “looking at more than one driver” in connection to the crash and would be looking at “every aspect” of the incident, including the weather, road conditions, and mechanical factors.
“That’s all I have to say in the matter,” he said Sunday. “It’s a complicated set of circumstances that they have to translate to try and figure out what happened.”
Craig Newfield, the father of the 16-year-old, told reporters Monday he and his family couldn’t comprehend what had happened.
“We don’t understand how two beautiful young women can get taken from us in a space of about 20 feet, on a clear evening on a flat, straight street in Needham,” he said. “We just don’t understand. We want everybody to know that Talia and Adrienne were best of friends, they were unique. They were beautiful people. They were loved by everybody. They were loved by their parents and their families and their friends.”
In a statement released by the school district Monday afternoon, the Newfield family thanked friends, family, and members of the Needham community for the outpouring of love and support they have received.
“Talia was a wonderful daughter, sister and friend,” the family said. “She was everything that we could ever have asked for, and more than we knew. She was righteous, talented, smart, funny and enigmatic with great positive impact on our lives and those around us, and with huge potential. We are heartbroken, and holding our friends and family close.”
Newfield was a member of the high school’s cross country team, which she joined in the fall, the high school’s athletic director, Daniel Lee, told the Globe.
According to her obituary, the teen leaves behind her parents and three siblings. A service for Newfield is planned for Tuesday at Temple Aliyah.
High School Principal Aaron Sicotte described Garrido as a talented and devoted friend, according to MassLive.
Gutekanst said Monday the 17-year-old was a three-sport athlete.
“Both girls were really invested in the community,” he said.
According to the Globe, Garrido was on the high school’s cross-country, indoor track, and outdoor track teams.
Watch Superintendent Gutekanst’s remarks below.
Lee said in a statement that the school’s indoor track team wore black and white ribbons with the letters “TN & AG” written on them during a competition Sunday to remember their teammates, according to the Globe.
“This was a challenging and emotional day for the athletes, coaches, and everyone whose life had been touched by Talia and Adrienne,” he said. “They were two special girls, who will be truly missed by all who knew them.”
Classmate Ben Aliber told CBS Boston, “All of us are in a complete shock; it’s one of those things you read about but when it happens to someone you know it’s really hard to process.”
Gutekanst said this isn’t the first time he’s had to handle the tragic loss of a student.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” he said.