- Associated Press - Monday, November 18, 2019

VANDALIA, Ill. (AP) - A small Illinois school is grieving the deaths of two students in a weekend crash that also killed the grandparents of one of the girls.

Fourteen-year-old Vandalia High School freshman Jenna Protz died along with her grandparents, 73-year-old William Protz and 72-year-old Jackolyn Protz. She was the daughter of Principal Randy Protz. The couple were his parents.

The other teen who died, 14-year-old Holly Lidy, was the daughter of school speech therapist Anita Lidy. The four were returning home from a Vandalia football playoff game in Williamsville.

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“They will be remembered for their smiles, their kindness, for their selflessness. Model students, leaders in our freshmen class,” Vandalia Superintendent Jennifer Garrison said of the girls.

Police said a 17-year-old drove his pickup truck over the center line and struck a van carrying the four Saturday night in Montgomery County, southeast of Springfield. The teen was in a hospital with serious injuries, they said. The crash remained under investigation Monday.

Hundreds of people, including area clergy, gathered at the high school Sunday.

“We’ll never forget them,” classmate Carley Miller said of the girls. “Even if they were down themselves, they would never show it. They would always be there for everybody else.”

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