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Friends of Williamsville South students killed in Clarence crash raise money for funerals

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Posted at 1:18 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 13:18:59-05

CLARENCE, N.Y. (WKBW) — Friends of Luke Malinich, 17, and Lauren Taggart, 17, have organized a GoFundMe for the families of both teens killed in Monday's crash in Clarence.

Taggart's father told 7 News that his daughter was sweet, kind, and loved by so many, including her parents and two teen sisters. A family friend described her as a "free spirit." Softball teammates said she was the "sweetest."

Close friends of Malinch said he started dating Taggart recently.

Those friends described Malinich as hilarious, popular, a good listener who gave great advice and someone who made situations better. Other words used by friends to describe the 17-year-old were goofy, athletic, smart and, "one of the coolest, most down to earth kids."

New York State Police said Malinich was from Amherst and Taggart was from Williamsville. Both teens were students at Williamsville South High School.

Malinich was driving Taggart's mother's 2020 Jeep Cherokee on Delaware Road in Clarence on Monday around 4:10 p.m. New York State Police said that's when the Jeep crossed into the oncoming lane, went off the road, flipped over, and hit a tree roof-first.

State Police said high speed is believed to be the cause of the crash, and both teens were wearing seat belts. Authorities said the horrific crash happened near Goodrich Road, and the roads were wet.

On Tuesday dozens of family members and friends gathered at the crash site to place balloons, flowers, and personal items. "LLL" was written on both sides of a white cross, which stands for Long Live Lauren and Long Live Luke.