ALEXANDRIA, Minn. - Family members say the three of the four women who died in an interstate crash west of Alexandria were college roommates heading back to North Dakota State University (NDSU).
Michelle Renninger of Excelsior says her 18-year-old daughter, Danielle, and three other Minnesota friends died when their car crossed the median on Interstate 94 and was broadsided by an SUV Monday afternoon. Renninger says her family is devastated by Danielle's death.
The other students killed in the crash were 18-year-old Lauren Peterson of Prior Lake, who was driving the vehicle; 19-year-old Jordan Playle of Otsego; and Megan Sample, age 18, of Rogers.
School officials say Playle, Renninger and Sample lived in Sevrinson Hall. Peterson lived in North Weible Hall.
Prakash Matthew, the university's vice president for student affairs, says three of the victims shared a dormitory suite. The fourth lived in a separate hall.
Matthew said the school hasn't had such a tragedy in his 35 years there.
"The NDSU community is deeply saddened by the loss of our four students," Mathew said. "On behalf of the NDSU community, we extend our heartfelt sympathy to their families and friends in the Twin Cities area and at NDSU."
The loss is being felt at Rogers High School Tuesday morning. Principal Roman Pierskalla issued a statement saying, "All of us at Rogers High School are mourning the tragic loss [Monday] of Class of 2011 alumnus Jordan Playle and Megan Sample. Jordan and Megan epitomized the best, not only as students, but more importantly as citizens of our community. Their loss will be felt well beyond our school community, and our memories of Jordan and Megan will last a lifetime."
Prior Lake High School principal Dave Lund made a similar statement to students Tuesday morning. Both schools offered counselors for current students.
Tuesday evening, Playle's family released the following statement: "We would like to express our deepest condolences to the other families involved in this tragedy. We will miss our little girl. Jordan approached life with great joy and happiness. She loved life, and brought the best out in the people around her. Jordan enjoyed meeting other people and valued the differences in everyone. No one could have had a better daughter, sister, or friend! We thank you for your continued prayers and support during this difficult time."
The State Patrols says two others traveling in other vehicles were injured in the crash, but are expected to survive.
Michelle Renninger tells KARE 11 Danielle's funeral will be Friday at 11 a.m. in Excelsior.
Heavy snow, fog, strong winds and temperatures hovering around freezing made travel difficult Monday. The State Patrol has not made a final determination on whether those conditions were factors in the crash.
The SUV that struck the women's car was hit from behind by a third vehicle. Injured victims in those vehicles were taken to a nearby hospital.
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