(MCT) — The dance routine was the saddest, most mournful the Lockport Porterettes had ever performed.
The tearful pom pon squad held a candlelight vigil on Monday at Lockport Township High School East Campus to honor their teammate and friend Jacalyn Rudd, 16, of Homer Glen, who was killed in a car crash over the weekend. They danced in memory of the girl who always wore a bright smile.
“She was the glue that held this team together,” said her friend Madison Viverito, through tears, as the crowd of mourners in the parking lot swelled well past a hundred. “She always had a huge smile. It was contagious, even when you were in a bad mood.”
Michelle Rudd, Jacalyn's mother, thanked the somber pom team and all the students and parents huddled in the dark, lighting candles and hugging one another. She said she knew her daughter was loved.
Crosses, flowers and candles also decorated the crash site a few miles away at 167th Street and Cedar Road in Lockport.
Rudd, a junior, was driving a 1998 BMW eastbound on 167th Street and collided with 49-year-old Mokena man headed southbound in a 2000 Ford F-250 pick-up, Lockport police said in a statement.
Rudd was extracted from her car by firefighters, but she died that day at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.
Police added there was no evidence that alcohol was a factor in the crash, but wouldn’t give any other details because the investigation isn’t complete.
“Our whole school community is in mourning today,” said Kim Brehm, school spokeswoman “The Rudd family is in our thoughts and prayers.”
Brehm said school counselors and social workers were brought in to aid students and staff, many of whom were still grieving the loss of junior Jay Vana, who died in another car crash in September.
Becca Pachuta, a sophomore, said the second fatal crash in such a short period revived some of the hurt from when she lost Vana, her friend.
“But because our school is so strong, it brings everyone closer,” she said.