Counselors at CCHS help with grieving after deaths of three, injuries to two

NEW CASTLE – Extra counselors are on hand at Craig County High School today to help students and staff with their grief over last night’s deaths of three graduates, and critical injuries of a current senior and another CCHS graduate.

In a county as small as Craig – population 5,000, with a graduating class of around 60 students each year –  just about everyone is family.

The five young ladies were in a late-night accident on Rt. 311 near New Castle on Oct. 6. The two in intensive care today are senior Alyssa Swingle, 16, and 2012 graduate Jessica Stebar, 19, who were air lifted to Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Their families are with them at the hospital, and Craig school officials plan to be there this afternoon to provide support.

Two of the young women’s friends were pronounced dead at the scene shortly after 11:30 p.m. Sunday night: Megan Bradley, who police say was driving the Isuzu Rodeo, and passenger Carleigh Megan Taylor, 22. Passenger Tia Gardner, 19, died after reaching the hospital, Virginia State Police said.

Craig County High School students will be holding memorials to their friends. Arrangements are incomplete. Virginia State Police say the accident happened when Bradley tried to pass another car turning left off 311, lost control and hit a tree.