Communities gather to remember student killed in school van accident in Dravosburg

DRAVOSBURG, Pa. — The Serra Catholic High School, McKeesport, and Dravosburg communities came together Thursday night for an evening of music and prayer remembering the life of 15-year-old Samantha Kalkbrenner, who was killed in a tragic school van crash Wednesday morning in Dravosburg.

“She was a beautiful girl, she was involved in a lot of things, she was a cheerleader, she taught dance. She was a child who was 15 years old that really did something with her life and I couldn’t imagine being a parent and losing a child,” said Donna Meneely, who lives near Serra Catholic and attended the candlelight vigil.

Meneely and her neighbor Diane Jones felt it was right to pay their respects to a young girl who many of the speakers described as funny and energetic, with a smile that lights up a room.

“It is a good community and we all like to rally and support the high school, Serra High School, and the students and just to be supportive of the families and students going through this,” Jones said.

Jones happened to be driving on Richland Avenue in Dravosburg Wednesday morning and passed the crash scene minutes after the Serra Catholic school van was hit, killing Samantha and injuring three of her classmates and the two drivers involved.

“When you drove past you could see it was a bad accident and you had to immediately start praying and hoping for the best,” Jones said.

At last check, the three injured students are in stable condition. The two drivers are in critical condition.

A GoFundMe for Samantha’s family has raised thousands of dollars in just a matter of hours. It’s just one more way the community is showing its support.

“If we see or hear of anything that happens, we all kind of stick together. Of course we’re broken hearted over what has happened and it’s just kind of touching everyone,” Meneely said.

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