Mother of Fairport Angel remembers crash amid ‘100 deadliest days’

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FAIRPORT,N.Y. — Every June, Diane McClure helps put on the Fairport Angels Blood Drive, which memorializes the lives of five Fairport High School girls. On June 26, 2007, those girls died in a devastating car crash.

“As I understand it was heavy traffic. And I think what they were trying to do was to pass a slow moving vehicle,” McClure said.

Her daughter, Meredith, had just graduated high school with four of her closest friends — Hannah, Katie, Bailey, and Sara. They were going to celebrate at Cayuga Lake when they were hit by a semi-truck.

McClure hadn’t wanted the girls to go.

“I just I knew, could feel, I knew it wasn’t a good thing to do,” she said.

The trip was far from home, and the girls hadn’t had their licenses very long.

“They’re young, they don’t have the years of experience in driving like we as adults have experienced.”

They’re five more lives in a startling statistic: From 2010 to 2021, almost 6,600 teenagers died in a summertime car crash.

According to AAA, those numbers are going up. But AAA communications specialist Mark Gruba says that they don’t have to.

“We have to do better and we can do better,” Gruba said. “By educating ourselves, and taking a proactive approach behind the wheel.”

Some risks of teen driving are obvious — a car full of people or a cell phone can distract even the most dedicated of young drivers. McClure says there’s another risk: lacking experience.

“They never planned to run into that kind of situation,” she said.  “Unless you practice something […] you don’t respond well in an emergency.”

Her and the other parents remember the Fairport angels by giving blood. Their past twelve drives have touched over 2,500 lives. McClure said that for her, the annual event helps remember the girls’ love for live in a positive way.

“That’s what we have left of their lives,” she said. “Is the memories we share and talking about them.”