Community remembers Wilkes County sisters killed in head-on crash

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WILKES COUNTY, N.C. – A small community in Wilkes County is devastated after learning sisters Cassandra and Madison Gilbert, of McGrady, were killed in a head-on car crash on their way home from school Thursday afternoon.

“It’s tragic," said Lewis Griffin. "That’s all you can say, just a tragic thing happened."

Troopers say 16-year-old Cassandra was driving on N.C. 18, near Painter Lane and was legally passing a school bus when her vehicle struck a pickup truck head-on.

The sisters were well known in the community, especially by customers at their parents' store just around the corner from the crash site.

"I just started bawling. I couldn’t help it, those girls if you ever know them, you never forget them,” said Rick Lovette.

A close family friend said Cassandra dreamed of going to North Carolina State University, and one day becoming a veterinarian. Twelve-year-old Madison was described as a sweet girl who loved making others laugh.

Cassie attended West Wilkes High School, and Madison was a student at West Wilkes Middle School.

People who know the Gilberts say they're heartbroken by the loss.

“Everybody (is) talking about hugging their children a little bit tighter, and how brief life can be sometimes,” said Cathy Bumgardner.

A GoFundme page to help pay for the girls' funeral raised nearly $10,000 in less than 24 hours.

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