GREECE, N.Y. — Mourning in the Hilton community continues for a high school senior killed in a car crash Sunday night.
A roadside memorial set up Monday night pays tribute to Hilton High School senior Paige Smith, who was killed in a car accident on Latta Road.
“I thought it wasn’t true, I thought it was fake," said co-worker Chloe Atalleh. "I thought, ‘how could it happen to someone I actually know?’ I never thought it would.”
Atalleh started working with Smith at the Greece frozen yogurt store Yolickity last August. She remembers her late co-worker as a hard and energetic worker.
“She’d always smile and everything. Even if she maybe had something going on that day," Atalleh said. "We’d always talk; we could talk about it anything. It was really fun just working with her.”
It’s the same qualities that classmate Dominic Faticone says brought him and their mutual friends to the yogurt store to visit Smith week after week.
“She was just a girl that you always knew when she was in the room," Faticone said. "She was very energetic, so caring to you. She was a great friend.”
Police say Smith was riding with fellow senior and cheerleader Brianna Scarpulla, when Scarpulla crossed the center line of Latta Road and struck another vehicle. Investigators say speed likely played a factor in the crash.
Both Scarpulla and the other driver, a 64-year-old Greece woman, were taken to the hospital.
“We're like one big family," Faticone said. "We’re all like brothers and sisters. So when we need each other, we’re there for one another."
It’s a family-like community he’s glad to have, with graduation just two weeks away. He says walking the stage just won’t be the same.
“When I get there, there’ll be a lot of emotions. Not just from me, but from everyone," Faticone said. "I don’t know how we’re going to handle it. We just need to stick together as a group of kids, and be there for one another.”
Paige had been a Hilton Cadet cheerleader for years, going all the way back to middle school. She and the varsity squad won a Section V title last fall.
On its Facebook page the team said in part, "This doesn’t seem real. You are forever our angel. We are deeply broken by the loss of you. You are incredibly loved and admired, we will miss you everyday. Rest In Peace."
Funeral arrangements have been made for Paige. There will be calling hours Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Thomas E. Burger Funeral home on East avenue in Hilton. A private service for the family will follow. A larger "Celebration of Life" service is being planned at a later date.