FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office has identified the four Fulton County teens who were killed in a tragic wreck that also left a fifth student injured.
The victims have been identified as Octavious Rhodes, 16, of Fairburn, Cameron Jones, 16, of Atlanta, Isaiah Gregory, 15, of Atlanta, and 14-year-old Ke'Ariy Lopez.
Lexus Todd, 16, survived the wreck and remains at the hospital where she's expected to recover from her injuries.
According to Fulton County Schools, Rhodes, Lopez and Gregory were freshmen at Langston Hughes High School. Jones, the driver of the SUV, transferred to Langston Hughes about two months ago, but recently withdrew from the school system.
Officials revealed 9th graders Gregory, Rhodes and Lopez did not report to homeroom Monday morning as expected. Officials said Todd, the lone survivor, is the only one who reported to school Monday.
City of South Fulton Mayor-Elect Bill Edwards said he is bothered by the time of the accident because the students should have been in school and that there is a lesson to be learned for all of us.
"All you can do is hug them, tell them that you love them and try to go through the whole scenario with them. You don't want them to make the same kinds of mistakes. If you are in school, you are supposed to be in school. You want them to understand there is a lesson to be learned from everything, even a tragedy such as this," Edwards said.
The mayor-elect said while the fatal accident is at the top of everyone's mind, there is an opportunity here. Mr. Edwards said he is not trying to point fingers, but save lives. He challenged parents and the greater community to get more involved with our teenagers.
"We need to make sure our children are safe and they are in school. I am going to talk to local businesses and try to get them to understand that if you are serving a child during 10 or 11 o'clock during the day, he probably needs to be in somebody's school," Edwards said.
The mayor elect said he will introduce a truancy program shortly after the new city begins on May 1.
Several parents accompanied their students to the south Fulton County school after the wreck, anticipating what would be a rough day. Although grief counselors were on hand, the atmosphere was full of despair.
"So many of the students were one the floor crying," said Anissa Williams, a parent. "I even saw a hefty young man, tall, stood about 6 foot 1, just, oh my God, just really balling and crying. God is definitely a key in that, and having the love and being able to surround themselves with their peers who are also mourning."
Fulton County police said the teenage driver of a Lincoln Navigator ran a red light near the corner of GA-92 and Butner Road, crashing into a semi-truck.
The grandmother of the lone survivor credits two bystanders with saving her loved one’s life.
Priscilla Todd said she initially heard her granddaughter, 16-year-old Lexus Todd, had been ejected from the Lincoln Navigator that police said ran a red light and smashed into an 18-wheeler. Once Ms. Todd arrived at Grady Memorial Hospital, she quickly realized two bystanders rode up on the deadly scene and carefully pulled her granddaughter to safety.
“We didn't hear any tires squealing, heard no screeching. It was just basically one loud boom. But I can understand why it was such a loud boom...that SUV was just totally almost in half,” said Maurice Hollins, who works nearby.
Police said one of the victims was thrown from the vehicle, three others were trapped inside the SUV.
"The three people that were in the Navigator were trapped and pinned in the Navigator. We brought our heavy rescue unit in with the big extrication tools and with our crews after we got clearance from the medical examiner, we did extricate all three of the people," said Deputy Chief Charles Stubbs, Fulton County Fire Department.
The semi-truck driver suffered minor injuries and was taken to the hospital.
Sources close to the investigation said the tractor trailer had a camera posted in the truck that captured the entire accident.
“It’s a sad situation. I don’t know what going on,” Ken Walker said.
Family members confirm Walker's grandson was one of the teens who didn't make it. Walker said it will be an emotional time for his family, remembering a young man who enjoyed playing basketball.
“He just turned 16. We just celebrated his birthday a couple of weeks ago and he was just an all-around good kid,” said Walker. “We are losing too many young lives.”
Khadija Jackson used to teach the girl who survived and described her as having a beautiful spirit.
"She had a flow about her," Jackson said. "I really pray for the strength in her family."
About two hours later on GA-92 near West Road, a special needs school bus and a car got into an accident. According to police, the car became lodged under the bus, resulting in the deaths of two teen brothers.
None of the students on board the school bus were injured.