4 Garinger High School students hurt in serious crash in east Charlotte

CHARLOTTE — Four Garinger High School students were involved in a serious wreck Thursday morning in east Charlotte, the principal stated in a message to parents.

Another person, who has not been identified, was also hurt.

The crash happened just before 9:30 a.m. and had Shamrock Drive shut down near Finchley Drive, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Chopper 9 Skyzoom observed a vehicle flipped onto its top, surrounded by debris, in a grassy area near the scene.

MEDIC said three people were transported to Atrium Main with life-threatening injuries.

An additional two others were also transported to an area hospital with serious injuries, according to MEDIC.

Three of the students were in the 10th grade and the other was in the 11th grade, Principal LeDuan Pratt said.

It is not clear which students had life-threatening injuries and who were seriously injured.

However, the Garinger principal said three of the four students in the wreck were under medical care.

“We may feel a variety of emotions: shock, sadness, or confusion over this incident,” Pratt stated in the message. “What is most important is that we care for and support each other.”

A Crisis Response Team is at Garinger to help students and counselors are available.

“We know that this is a difficult time for everyone and we ask for you to support each other as we deal with all that has happened,” Pratt said.

The students were on campus at the start of the school day before the crash, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials confirmed.

Channel 9′s Hannah Goetz spoke with a woman at a gas station near the accident.

The woman said that she saw at least two people who were ejected from the vehicle.

Drivers were asked to avoid the area.

“This is the second tragic incident our school has suffered in the past week,” Pratt said.

Johnnie McClendon, 14, was shot and killed Sunday at his home on Keswick Avenue outside of Uptown Charlotte.

The shooting is believed to be accidental. His friend was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Finding support after tragedy (video)

Clara Witherspoon was a licensed counselor before she retired from CMS.

She was a member of the district’s Crisis Response Team and served as a graduation coach at Garinger.

“We had a student that was hit, that was real devastating because all the students knew that kid,” said Witherspoon.

Witherspoon had insight on how that crisis team may be helping at Garinger.

“We would have to support those schools and that could look like direct support, or it could be counseling from other schools to go in and support,” she said.

CMS Board Member Dee Rankin represents the district Garinger is in.

“Some of the students are having a tough time, from the first tragedy that occurred,” Rankin said.

Rankin said that ensuring students have the resources they need has been paramount for the board.

“Social and emotional learning and helping our students -- just be able to cope was definitely one of those five topics in our meeting,” Rankin said.

They also look out for staff members.

“Teachers go through things too, because those teachers were close to some of the students,” Witherspoon said.

Classmates, family, and friends will gather at Garinger for a memorial Friday to remember McClendon. It will be at 3:30 p.m. at the gym.

No further details surrounding the wreck have been released.

This is a developing story. Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

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