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Family, classmates grieve Rancho Cotate High School student killed in crash (w/video)

  • Mo Hamade, center, boyfriend of Ashley Carlson, is comforted by family and friends on Wednesday evening at Rancho Cotate High School during a candle light vigil to memorialize 17-year-old Ashley Carlson who died in a car accident, Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Hamade also made asked everyone to also say a prayer for the two others in the car who were injured in the accident. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

The teen had been riding with two other Rancho Cotate seniors, driver Ashley Kellogg, 18, of Rohnert Park and Kellogg's boyfriend, Brenton Deveraux, 18, when their small car crashed at about 7:50 p.m. on Llano Road, west of Santa Rosa.

Based on initial observations, investigators believed Kellogg may have been driving too fast for the narrow, bumpy, rural road, said CHP spokesman Officer Jon Sloat. Inexperience may also have contributed to the crash, according to the CHP.

The driver lost control and her 2008 Honda Civic hit a tree and then a utility pole before flipping onto its roof, landing in a field.

Vigil For Ashley Carlson


Alcohol was not believed to be a factor.

Kellogg was treated for minor injuries. Deveraux remained at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital on Wednesday in good condition.

The three Rancho Cotate seniors, all good friends, were on the verge of graduating in the school's May 30 ceremony.

"That's going to have an impact on our graduates," Rancho Cotate Principal Bob Steffen said early Wednesday as he prepared for a difficult day on campus. "It's a tragedy."

Officials at the Snyder Lane campus brought in psychologists, chaplains and a therapy dog Wednesday to help the school's 1,600 students cope with the shock.

"We just provided them with the opportunity and a couple places on campus where they were safe and able to deal with their grief in their own way," Steffen said. "Kids were stressing out ... and finding comfort in one another."

One of those areas was the school auto shop.

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