CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – The Christiansburg community continued to grieve following a fatal car wreck involving two teens earlier this week. Thursday night, they gathered for a candlelight vigil remembering 16-year-old Ashlyn Poole who was killed in the crash, and 16-year-old Alex Leonard, who was critically injured.
Heartbreak is barely a strong enough word to describe how people felt standing in front of the school's main entrance thinking about their friends. Both teens would have walked through those front door with their friends as juniors but now that's not the case. Those friends are instead saying goodbye to Poole and continuing to pray for Leonard as he remains in the hospital.
Friends and family spoke at the vigil of how well-liked both teens were and how important they are to the community. They also shared memories and sang songs in their honor. At the end of the night they lit candles and sang "Amazing Grace" before ending the program.
We heard from the victim's families for the first time since the crash at Thursday's vigil. They are all thankful for the outpouring of support from the community.
"What the doctors told us was very grim and I don't believe that necessarily they were wrong, I just think it was really a miraculous thing," Alex Leonard's sister Elizabeth Leonard said. "God is still living and he still performs miracles and everyone's prayers made a world of difference."
"I don't really know what to say, but I do want to say thank you," Ashlyn Poole's sister Kaitlyn Poole said. "The amount of love that my family has received over the past couple of days, it's amazing."
"I wish I had another chance to tell her that I love her," Kaitlyn Poole said of her sister Ashlyn. "But I know she's watching down on all of us and knows how much she was loved."
Many people also spoke of how close Poole and Leonard were to each other. They were seen in many photos on social media together standing next to each other.
The crash that caused this remains under investigation. Police have said that it was Alex Leonard at the wheel, but family members dispute that. Blue and green ribbons were passed out to people who attended the vigil.
Adults who spoke told students to accept emotions associated with the incident and to not bottle them up, while parents were told to be there for their children in any way they can.
Visitation for Ashlyn Poole is set for Friday at the funeral home next to the high school. Those attending the service are asked to park at the high school and then walk over. A celebration of life is scheduled for Saturday,