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A tearful farewell to accident victims

Family, friends and the entire Bethlehem school community are bearing the heavy burden of losing two bright young teens on Friday, Nov. 23, when Alexander Gould, 17, and Jackie McHugh, 16, were killed in a one-car auto accident on Meads Lane.

Two funerals on two successive days for both victims were held last week at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Delmar, with hundreds of community members in attendance.

The measure of life is not the number of years but the quality of the relationships, said the Rev. David Berberian of St. Thomas Church, presiding over the McHugh's service, on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

McHugh was driving a 1992 Acura along Meads Lane in Glenmont shortly after 9 p.m. on Nov. 23 when her vehicle struck a tree after leaving the road. Both McHugh and Gould were in the front seat and both were wearing seat belts when the accident occurred. A third passenger, Brian Woods, who was in the back seat, survived the crash and is still listed in serious condition at Albany Medical Center.

"She was really beautiful inside and out," said Anne Cole, one of McHugh's close friends who spoke at her service. "Jackie was truly an amazing person. She has always been there for me when I needed to talk to her no matter how late at night."

"She was not only my best friend; she was my hero," Cole said.

McHugh's effervescence and warm personality is what family members recalled most.

Jackie's father, Bernard McHugh, said everyone enjoyed having Jackie around, not just her friends but all family members as well. She especially liked her job working with seniors at Delmar Place. Jackie would go in on her days off just to be with the staff and residents. She could often be seen playing checkers with one of the 98-year-old residents.

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