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Counselors, Vigil Try To Ease Pain In Farmingdale After Crash That Killed 4 Teens

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FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Grief counselors will be at Farmingdale High School on Monday to help students and staff mourning four teenagers killed in a car crash.

The Rev. Michael Duffy of St. Kilian Roman Catholic Church in Farmingdale told shaken Mother’s Day worshipers that there are no words to “make it better.”

The church held a vigil on Sunday night

“It’s so important in moments like these that we gather, that we’re reassured that we’re not alone,” Duffy said.

Thousands showed up to remember the lives of four teens killed in Saturday’s accident, CBS 2’s Don Champion reported. The vigil drew such a large crowd that speakers had to be set up outside to handle the overflow.

“It’s going to be really different just not being able to see them around the hallways,” Farmingdale High School senior, Anthony Lopez said.

All four victims attended Farmingdale High. Principal Glenn Zakian said that dealing with the tragedy has made for the hardest days of his career.

“You can’t make sense out of one let alone four. You just can’t and all we’re going to do is try to support our students. Trying to make sense of it is for a higher power and not for us to do at this point and time,” he said.

The teenagers’ 2001 Nissan was traveling west on Conklin Street just after midnight, when the male driver crossed into the eastbound lanes and collided with a GMC Suburban being operated by a 53-year-old man, police said.

In a moving gesture first responders lined up outside of the church in a show of support.

“The people here come together and they support one another. They pray for one another and that enables us to rise above the grief,” Monsignor Michael Flynn said.

Four of the five teens in the car were killed in the crash. Friends said the only survivor was Cody Talanian, 17, who was sitting in the front passenger seat. He was in the hospital Sunday with a head injury, broken bones, and internal bleeding, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported.

Cody Talanian

Friends said Cody Talanian was the only survivor in a vehicle of teenagers that crashed in Farmingdale early on Saturday, May 10. (Credit: Facebook)

The driver of the GMC and a female passenger were seriously injured.

Video from the scene showed metal crushed and mangled so badly that it was almost hard to tell the debris belonged to cars.

A makeshift memorial has grown over the weekend at the scene of the crash, where family members and friends were numb with shock as they placed flowers and cards and prayed, CBS 2’s Don Champion reported.

Patrick Sawicki was just one of many high school friends of the young victims.

“This morning, I woke up to people calling me and telling me,” Sawicki said. “I’ve been crying since I found out.”

“I mean, we all loved them — friends of ours,” another classmate said.

Another friend, Jillian, told 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten she saw the victims just before they died.

“I just saw these kids yesterday in school, and just to hear this all of a sudden — it’s like, really, just shocking. That’s all I can say about it,” she said.

The exact cause of the crash was still under investigation, but neighbors said the stretch of Conklin Street where the crash happened is notorious for speeding.

Police are looking at speed, alcohol and distracted driving as possible factors in the accident. The teen who survived the accident is in the hospital being treated for injuries including internal bleeding. Police have yet to confirm the names of the teens who were killed.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)