Cara Selby was trying to get back home to her daughter’s sleepover party when her car broke down. Calling for help turned out to have tragic consequences.

As WHAS News reports, the 37-year-old mom from Cortland, Indiana was only a block from home when her Chevrolet Suburban broke down. It was around 11 p.m. on Saturday night, and she and her daughter were trying to get back to a sleepover party being held at their house.

Screenshot/WHAS

Selby called for help, and the teens from the party came to the rescue. As a group, they helped push the stalled car back toward the Selby house. Jackson County Sheriff Mike Carothers told WHAS that the road where Selby broke down was “a straight stretch of road, 40 mile per hour speed limit with just a small, older community.”

However, Carothers believes that the group of teens pushing the car may have been blocking the taillight, making it difficult for other drivers to see the group. Whatever the reason, a driver on the road that night plowed into the group. Carothers told WAVE News that 24-year-old Elizabeth Watson didn’t hit the teens head-on:

“[S]he at the last minute maybe saw them and did a curve. So it could have been worse. I don’t see how but it could have.”

Four teens were killed in the crash and five more injured. Carothers added, “For everybody on the scene, I know the medic units, fire units, it was about as gruesome as you could find.”

Three of the teens — 14-year-old Neveah Law, 14-year-old Jenna Helton, and 15-year-old Brittany Watson — died at the scene. Martin Martinez, age 16, was airlifted to a hospital, but died there. Two more teens were treated for injuries and released, while three others (including Selby’s daughter) remain in the hospital.

The news devastated the small Indiana community. The high schools the teens attended have brought in counselors and volunteers, and a community prayer vigil was held for everyone affected by the loss. Friends and family want others to remember the people they lost that night.

Destiny Root told WHAS about her friend, Neveah Law:

“Nevaeh was actually one of my best friends. I met her my 7th-grade year, and we created this big group called the sisterhood. There’s seven of us. We were so close. She just always wanted to jump on you and love on you. She just had a really big heart for anyone who needed it.”

John Helton told the Seymour Tribune that his daughter Jenna was “always joking and laughing.” He added, “She loved her 4-year-old sister with Down syndrome. She was sweet and caring. She listened to my lecturing intently, wanting to always please me. She was my angel, and she will be terribly missed.”

Jackie Watson told the Tribune that her daughter Brittany was meant for great things: “She was very smart and had big dreams. And she had the biggest heart of anyone I had ever met.” 

And Terri Martinez learned of her son Martin’s death while out of town on vacation. She told the Tribune, “It’s way too soon for him. He was too sweet and would do anything for anyone.”

Authorities are still investigating the crash, but say that the driver was not intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. At present, there are no plans to press charges against the driver.

Torre Collins, mother of Nevaeh Law, told the Tribune that she hopes that parents hold their children tight and remember how fleeting life can be: “Mine walked out the door [Saturday] and will never be coming home to me.”

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