About 45 Columbus North High School students gathered in the school parking lot Monday morning as part of a vigil to remember Delanie Scroghan, a 17-year-old junior who was killed in a car accident during the weekend.
“They were trying to put things back together and make sense of things,” said North Principal David Clark, who said the gathering included students who were dealing with human loss for the first time.
“We talked a little bit about life and how sometimes things don’t always go the way we want,” Clark said.
Scroghan was a passenger in a friend’s car that went off a rural road late Saturday and flipped near the intersection of county roads 550W and 250S, southwest of Columbus, according to a sheriff’s department news release.
The teenagers were headed to get something to eat, according to the release, and neither excessive speed nor alcohol or drugs appear to have been factors in the crash.
Ashlee M. Litchfield, 17, who was driving the car, took a Breathalyzer test at the scene, results of which showed no sign of alcohol use, police said. Litchfield told investigating officers that driving conditions had become foggy.
Litchfield was treated and released from Columbus Regional Hospital after complaining of pain, police said.
Justin Skirvin, 17, the second passenger in the car, declined treatment at the scene, police said.
Scroghan, who was in the front-seat of Litchfield’s Trailblazer and was not wearing a seatbelt, was partially thrown from the vehicle, police said.
Reaction at work, school
She had been employed at Red Lobster as a hostess since August.
Red Lobster employees were among those grieving her death, General Manager Chad Brown said.
Brown said the entire crew loved working with her, and she would make them laugh.
“She was always smiling, very pleasant,” he said. “She just seemed to always come in with a positive attitude.”
Brown said the restaurant had planned to help her out when she went to college and provide a transfer to another location, if necessary.
Clark said teachers at North described Scroghan as a student with high intelligence and a glowing personality.
“Whenever I saw her, she just seemed to be a very heartwarming, very cheery type of person,” he said. “I think she had a good sense of humor. She liked to kid around, and she liked to have fun.”
North counselors, as well as a few others from throughout the district, were made available to students Monday, and Clark said students were being supportive and respectful of each other.
Reaction from family, friends
Jeff McInteer, a cousin of Scroghan’s mother, Jennifer Crawford of Columbus, remembered Scroghan as “very family oriented.”
“She was just a very sweet young lady, a very outgoing person,” he said. “She liked little kids, and she liked to go out and have fun on the town.”
McInteer said Scroghan was beginning to learn about scholarship options for college and predicted that she would have gone far in school.
McInteer’s wife, Mary McInteer, said the young woman’s death has been particularly hard for the family, which had also lost other members recently.
Mary McInteer said they are remembering Scroghan as the “beautiful, young adult she was becoming.”
Samantha Skirvin, a 2013 graduate of North, met Scroghan through Litchfield.
Samantha Skirvin said Scroghan enjoyed spending time with friends and would always make them laugh at lunch.
“Delanie was such a fun, outgoing, sweetest girl you would ever meet,” Samantha Skirvin said in a text message. “She would always put her friends first no matter what.”
Friends were well aware of her outlook on life, Skirvin said.
“Delanie would say, ‘Love your life, be safe and love your parents at each moment you have,’” she said. “She was the type of person that did that.”
Samantha Skirvin is taking comfort in the thought that Scroghan’s death is not a goodbye, but a “see you later.”
“She was such a beautiful girl,” Samantha Skirvin said. “I know when I look at the sky on a beautiful day, I know that’s her looking down on all of us.”