MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ill — Four people in one vehicle were killed in a crash Saturday evening in Montgomery County, Illinois.
At 6:21 p.m., a Ford F-150 driven by a 17-year-old boy crossed the center line into oncoming traffic on Illinois 185 near Coffeen, according to Illinois State Police. The truck hit a Toyota Sienna head-on, police added.
All four people inside the Toyota were killed in the crash. The Illinois State Police identified the adults as Jackolyn Protz, 72, William Protz, 73, and the Vandalia School District identified two 14-year-old girls as Holly Lidy and Jenna Protz, freshman students in the school district. Jackolyn and William Protz were from Sullivan, Illinois. The girls were from Vandalia.
The 17-year-old boy who was in the F-150 suffered life-threatening injuries, police said. He was airlifted from the scene to a local trauma center.
Sunday afternoon, friends and family gathered at Vandalia Community High School to remember the two freshmen.
"They will be remembered for their smiles, their kindness, for their selflessness. Model students, leaders in our freshmen class," said Dr. Jennifer Garrison.
"We'll never forget them," said Carley Miller, a classmate of Jenna and Holly. "Even if they were down themselves, they would never show it, they would always be there for everybody else."
Holly was the daughter of a Speech-Language Pathologist at Vandalia High. Jenna was the daughter of the principal.
Driving the two young girls were Principal Randy Protz's two parents who also died from their injuries.
Superintendent Garrison says she was amazed Principal Protz found the strength to attend.
"He wanted to be here, with his staff, with his family," she says.
The Illinois State Police Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unit is continuing the investigation. No other information has been released at this time.
The full statement from the school district can be seen below.