CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Va. -- Two Virginia teens died on their way to school Wednesday morning when their vehicle plunged off a bridge and into a river, according to WTVR.
Cumberland County Public Schools officials identified the girls killed in the wreck as Michaela and Tyauna Woodson. The girls, ages 16 and 14, were found inside the vehicle when it was removed from the Willis River in Cumberland County Wednesday afternoon, hours after the wreck.
"These two beautiful young ladies were a big part of the Cumberland County Public Schools family as they excelled in academics and participated in extracurricular activities such as softball and cheerleading," Cumberland County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Chip Jones wrote in a statement.
Jones said grief counselors will be on hand at Cumberland High School throughout the week.
Community at a loss
News of the accident quickly spread in the tight-knit community.
Margaret Nucklos said she picked her son up from school early because her family was so shaken by the loss.
“It’s a tragedy any time you lose a child. And to lose these girls on their way to school," Nucklos said. "Everybody’s more or less dumbfounded. It’s hard to believe. The kids at school have been texting and calling parents all day long.”
Vehicle was swept under
The river level was high at the time of the crash, so it went undetected and the girls were not reported missing until they failed to show up at school, according to relatives who gathered at the crash scene.
"A vehicle traveling along Bonbrook Road ran off the road and into the Willis River. Due to the recent, heavy rains, the river is swollen and the vehicle was quickly swept under the water," a Virginia State Police spokesperson said. "The Virginia State Police Search and Recovery Team (SRT) divers responded to the scene and located the submerged vehicle in the river shortly before 2 p.m. There are two confirmed bodies inside the vehicle."
The crash remains under investigation.