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Family, classmates grieve Rancho Cotate High School student killed in crash (w/video)

  • Mo Hamade, center, boyfriend of Ashley Carlson, is comforted by family and friends Wednesday evening at Rancho Cotate High School during a candlelight vigil to remember Carlson, 17. She died Tuesday night in a car wreck. (Crista Jeremiason / PD)

All dressed up in a sequined gown, Rancho Cotate High School senior Ashley Carlson danced at the school prom Saturday night with her longtime boyfriend.

On Tuesday, the 17-year-old and six friends were honored for their community service by Rohnert Park police, who brought them pizza at school.

The next day, shocked and grief-stricken family members, friends, classmates and teachers attempted to absorb the terrible news the pretty, friendly, helpful teen had died in a car crash Tuesday night.

Vigil For Ashley Carlson

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“It's a tough day. She was a super kid,” said John Rossi, the Rohnert Park school's auto shop teacher who had Carlson in classes for two years.

“They all looked amazing at the prom, but Ashley, wow. Her dress really stood out,” said Nica Williamsen, the mother of classmate Cheyenne Williamsen, who helped organize a vigil for Ashley at the school Wednesday night that was attended by more than 100 people. “She wore it so well. This is an awful, awful thing.”

The teen had been riding with two other Rancho Cotate seniors, driver Ashley Kellogg, 18, of Rohnert Park and Kellogg's boyfriend, Brenton Deveraux, 18, when their small car crashed at about 7:50 p.m. on Llano Road, west of Santa Rosa.

Based on initial observations, investigators believed Kellogg may have been driving too fast for the narrow, bumpy, rural road, said CHP spokesman Officer Jon Sloat. Inexperience may also have contributed to the crash, according to the CHP.

The driver lost control and her 2008 Honda Civic hit a tree and then a utility pole before flipping onto its roof, landing in a field.

Alcohol was not believed to be a factor.

Kellogg was treated for minor injuries. Deveraux remained at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital on Wednesday in good condition.

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