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One Year Later: Remembering the Loss of Four NDSU Students - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

One Year Later: Remembering the Loss of Four NDSU Students

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One year ago, a deadly crash took the lives of four young women returning to Fargo from the Twin Cities.

The crash happened on Interstate-94 near Alexandria.

Jordan Playle, Danielle Renninger, Lauren Peterson and Megan Sample were heading back to NDSU when their car slid out of control into the path on oncoming traffic.

Friend Kate Hutton recalls the day as if it was yesterday. "They said they were gonna leave early to beat the snow," says Hutton.

Hutton had been trying to call the women to see how the weather was because she was also driving back.

When the news hit Tanya Stillwell, all she could think was, "It can't be true. How does that happen?"

Hutton says, "I was kinda more angry at first because it's not really fair to any of us."

The healing continues for those that knew the four best.

Sophie Porter says, "It's really up and down. I don't know. Some days like there are just moments like one second I'll be really really sad, and the next I'm like laughing."

Hutton, Porter and Stillwell either knew them throughout high school or met them in the first days of college. They all instantly clicked, and their contagious personalities led them to do everything together.

"When we look back, we have only happy memories, and it's just, it was the best times for all of us," says Hutton.

Those memories that have made it easier on the three friends. 

"You have to think of it in a positive light as to live that day for them, not dwell on the fact that they don't get to," says Stillwell.

Hutton adds, "And that's exactly how they'd want us to live. We're doing it for them."

There are also simple reminders that bring even more peace.

"Even when you're on campus and you see someone with a bracelet on that you don't know or a T-shirt, it's like you just can't help but smile," says Hutton.

As the time continues to pass and the day-to-day activities take hold of their lives, the friends know memories will always remain. 

They are the memories that ultimately will bring the most healing.

"They are truly our angels, and so many other peoples'," says Stillwell.

It would later be determined that speed was a contributing factor to the crash. Investigators say the driver, Peterson, was going too fast for the snowy conditions.

This spring the Minnesota Department of Transportation will be installing median cable guardrails along I-94 near Alexandria at an estimated cost of $150,000 per mile.

The guardrails have been proven to help stop vehicles from crossing into on coming traffic.

The move came before a petition drive that garnered more than 2,500 signatures, including those of the parents and families of the four women.

Guardrails will also be installed near Moorhead and there are plans for a similar project near Fergus Falls.

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