Ocean Springs Students Mourn Loss Of Two Classmates

Friends and teachers say 15-year-old Gabrielle Henderson and 16-year-old Jasmine Townsend were the perfect role models. They were smart, never a discipline problem, and terrific dancers. But, they will always be remembered for being best friends and having an unforgettable smile.

"We had good times together. We're always laughing. Gabby always made us laugh. Jasmine, she's always the one smiling," said Sophomore Piper Watson.

On Monday, smiling pictures of both girls decorated the locker they shared at Ocean Springs High School.

"They're just all around great people. Always happy," said senior Alison Aughtman.

They were best friends who were honor roll students, and they shined as members of the school dance team.

"One of our strongest talents. Both of them," said Alison.

"And they were always smiling when they were dancing," added Sophomore Lyndsey Bruno.

Next year's dance team will have two empty spots to pay tribute to the two friends who died in Saturday night's car crash.

"I was just completely shocked," said Sophomore Stephanie Nix. "I just sat there. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to feel. I was kind of confused. But they are going to be missed."

"You can't believe two people that great are actually gone," said Sophomore Christine McIntyre. "You just can't believe it. It's just unreal."

"I didn't want to believe it at first," said Lyndsey Bruno. "I couldn't bring myself to believe that they were actually gone. Two people that I was so close to."

Piper Watson says it's ironic that just two weeks ago, the three of them talked about death.

"We said it would be better if we died together instead of apart. In their case, it was exactly what they wanted, to die together and not apart."

They were best friends, always side by side in life. And that's how they'll be remembered at Ocean Springs High.

"We plan to have a button. Every Friday night, we'll have Jasmine and Gabby's picture there," Piper said as she pointed to her heart. "We're never going to forget about them."

"And it's really hard, because I love them both and they're so great," and Alison as tears welled up in her eyes. "They're so close to me and it's just hard, because I expect to see them down the hallway and they're not there."

It's been a very tough year for students at Ocean Springs High. They are still mourning the loss of two other students who died in an accident in Jackson County back in January.

Visitation for Jasmine Townsend and Gabrielle Henderson is Tuesday, at Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home in Ocean Springs from 4:00 until 7:00pm. Gabrielle will be buried in her family's hometown in Alabama. Jasmine will be buried in North Carolina.

Here's what WLOX knows about the other driver. Police say 19-year-old James Whitted of Biloxi was heading west on Highway 90, when his car slammed into the passenger side of the girls' car. Whitted was treated and released. So far, no charges have been filed in the accident.