Tragedy has struck three Bethlehem families following a double fatal car accident that killed two teenagers and critically injured a third.
Jacqueline McHugh, 16, of Chrisken Drive, Glenmont, and Alexander Gould, 17, of Jacob Drive, Delmar, were killed when the car they were in struck a tree off Meads Lane Friday evening, Nov. 23, after veering off the road. A third person in the 1992 Acura, Brian Wood, 16, of Beacon Road, Glenmont, who was in the back seat of the car at the time of the accident, is the only survivor listed in critical condition at Albany Medical Center.
Bethlehem police believe speed was a contributing factor in the crash that continues under investigation. The accident occurred around 9:30 p.m. Friday and has shocked many in the Bethlehem Central School District.
Our entire school community is saddened and diminished by the loss of Jacqueline McHugh and Alexander Gould, said school Superintendent Les Loomis.
McHugh was a junior at Bethlehem Central High School who, according to Principal Chuck Abba, was very popular among her peers and friends and "very well respected."
"She just had a special warmth," said Loomis.
McHugh was studying computer applications. She was also employed at Delmar Place where she served in various capacities.
School officials termed Gould a real "success story" and someone who was able to complete his G.E.D. through his determination and hard work.
"He loved art and had a special ability as an artist," said Loomis. "He was always straightforward and respectful to everyone around him."
The high school crisis intervention team is being made available to students in need of support.
Bethlehem police Lt. Thomas Heffernan said both McHugh and Gould, the front seat passengers, were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. Officials could not determine if Wood was wearing his. Toxicology reports will not be back for several weeks.
"The accident reconstruction could take several days to determine if there were other contributing factors," said Heffernan.
Funeral arrangements for McHugh and Gould will be made by The Applebee Funeral Home of Delmar. A Mass will be held for McHugh at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Delmar, Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 9:30 a.m.