By Geena Martinez
ODESSA - Students at Permian High School are mourning the loss of one of their own. NewsWest 9 has learned a 16-year-old student died after she was involved in a car accident while out of state.
The girl's mother also passed away in that wreck.
Monday morning marked the start of summer band practice at PHS, but this year, the band halls were a little quieter because one student wasn't there.
"It was a different feeling of her not being there because she'd be like one of the first people I'd say hi to in the morning," Permian student, Manuel Mendoza, said.
16-year-old old student Rachel Newton died in a car accident in New Hampshire over the weekend.
State Police said Rachel and her mother, 54-year-old Mary Newton, were driving on a highway when for some reason their Honda crossed into the eastbound lanes and crashed head on into an RV.
A passenger in the RV was also killed.
NewsWest 9 is told Rachel was visiting her hometown and was expected back in Odessa for band.
Mendoza and her friend, Alex Granado, said she lit up the room and always made others laugh. Granado said she last talked to Rachel on Saturday morning, a few hours before the crash.
"We were just saying that we miss each other, that I can't wait for band to start, to go on trips with each other and football games," Granado said. "I don't know what I'm gonna do without her anymore."
"I just couldn't believe it at first because she was like really, really nice to me," Mendoza said. "I just couldn't believe it, I was devastated."
Rachel played clarinet in the PHS band. Mendoza said he'll miss playing next to her.
"She was always an optimist about stuff," Mendoza said.
"She would always be loving and caring to each other," Granado said.
It's a tough start to the upcoming school year but Rachel's band mates said her memory will live on in the music they play.
"I'll just remember her for all the good things she's done, how happy she was and how she made me feel," Mendoza said. "We'll miss her a lot."
The driver of the RV was taken to the hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.