Hundreds of Herndon High School friends, families, students and former students gathered at Trinity Presbyterian Church on Sunday to remember the three Class of 2014 graduates killed in a Texas car crash on Friday and offer prayers for the two teens still recovering in a Dallas hospital.
Holly Novak, 18, of Reston, and Dale Neibaur and Kyle Mathers, both 19, died in the crash near Greenville, Texas, after a wrong way driver hit their SUV about 2 a.m. on Friday. The 78-year-old driver, Kenneth Frazier, also died in the accident.
Two others, Kevin DiCicco, 19, of Herndon, and Hannah Galbraith, 18, of Virginia Beach, were injured in the accident.
The five were heading to a video game convention in Austin when the accident occurred.
Four of the teens were former Pride of Herndon band members: Novak (drum major), Mathers (pep band manager), Neibaur (trombone section leader) and DiCicco (pit section leader).
Mathers was a member of Trinity Presbyterian, where Assistant Pastor Rebecca Messman spoke fondly of him.
“These were the best of friends,” she said. “Kyle was the leader of our youth group. We were so proud of who they were. The outpouring of support for our community has been unbelievable.”
“We are facing unspeakable grief,” she said. “But we will get through this together.”
Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel said she has been touched by the community support.
“It is a just a tragedy for these families,” she said. “The community is coming together to support them the best we can. It says a lot of about Herndon.”
The prayer service and gathering was closed to media, but many current and former band members brought instruments to honor their friends with music. Memorial ribbons in red and black — Herndon High’s colors — were distributed to all attendees.
There has been a fund set up to help the families of Mathers, Novak and Neibaur with funeral expenses. To donate, send a check to Trinity Presbyterian Church, 651 Dranesville Road, Herndon, VA 20170-3308. Attention: Herndon Band Relief Fund. (If you want a tax-deduction receipt, attach to your check the note saying, “please send tax deduction form.”)
Friends of Galbraith have set up a Go Fund Me page to aid with medical expenses for DiCicco and Galbraith, who are both students at University of Mary Washington.
There will be grief counselors available at Herndon High on Monday, school principal William Bates said.
Photos: Top – Memorial rock at Herndon High painted Saturday; Bottom – Kyle Mathers, Holly Novak and Dale Neibaur/Courtesy Pride of Herndon Band via Facebook