They were giddy after a weekend of graduation parties and still reminiscing about their triumph at a national cheerleading contest.
At 18, they had their entire lives before them.
But five New York star cheerleaders are now dead and it appears that text messaging may have played a part in their tragic deaths, reported ABC News.
Text messages had been sent back and forth from 17-year-old Bailey Goodman's handphone moments before her sports utility vehicle slammed head-on into a truck.
Bailey was driving her friends to her parents' vacation home when her SUV,
which had just passed a car, swerved back into oncoming traffic, hit a
tractor-trailer and burst into flames.
Five days earlier, the five teens had graduated from high school in Fairport.
Bailey's inexperience at the wheel, evidence she was driving above the speed
limit at night on a winding, two-lane highway and a succession of calls and
text messages on her phone were cited by Sheriff Phil Povero as possible
factors in the 28Jun crash.
"The records indicate her phone was in use," Mr Povero said. "We will never be
able to clearly state that she was the one doing the text messaging.
Several minutes before the first 911 call came in, Bailey spoke briefly with
one of four fellow graduates who were trailing her in another vehicle.
Two minutes before the crash was reported, her phone was used to send a text
greeting to a male friend who lived in a nearby town.
He sent a reply asking "what are you doing?" less than a minute before the 911
call was made by a passenger in the car that Bailey had overtaken, the sheriff
Autopsies determined that the girls - Bailey and Meredith McClure, both 17, and
Hannah Congdon, Sara Monnat and Katie Shirley, all 18 - were killed on impact.
Said Keisha Koneski, 18, who was in the car behind Bailey's, told AP: "In our
car, we could see the truck coming, and we all started screaming."
She said Bailey had been trying for a few minutes to pass a van that was going
at about 65kmh.
"When Bailey started passing, it looked like the van was speeding up because
she was next to the van for a really long time," she said.
The SUV was travelling at about 96kmh on the 90kmh road when it crashed shortly
The SUV and the truck crashed into a roadside fence and caught fire, shooting
flames at least 6m into the air.
The SUV ended up crushed and charred in a shallow ditch partially underneath
An overhanging tree was scorched, and blackened debris littered the road.
Truck driver Dave Laverty, 50, was not injured.
TOWN IN MOURNING
Meanwhile, the town continues to mourn the five girls, who were cheerleaders on
Fairport High's varsity team.
In March, the team took first place in its category at the American Open
National Cheer and Dance Championship in Orlando, Florida.
"It could be any five that were lost; we would grieve the same," said Ms Debra
Tandoi, a town official who works in the village's schools.
So far, tests have ruled out alcohol as a factor and while toxicology tests
haven't been completed, the police don't suspect drug use was involved.
Bailey had only a junior driver's licence, making it illegal for her to be
driving late at night or to be carrying so many young passengers.
In New York, junior drivers cannot drive after 9pm without a parent or
guardian. They also cannot carry more than two passengers under 21 unless
they're members of the immediate family.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation, but Mr Povero said no
witnesses had given any indication the van sped up 'to avoid being passed'.
"We'll certainly take this into consideration and follow this up," he said.
The van driver was interviewed, and no one was ticketed, the police said.