"When they went over that hill, she lost control of the vehicle, slid off the road and hit a large oak tree," Lt. Michael McDuffie tells PEOPLE


The lives of five Alabama high school cheerleaders have been changed forever.

Teenagers Cassidy Dunn, Emilee Fain and Addyson Martin died after the vehicle they were traveling in was involved in a single-car accident on Christmas day, PEOPLE confirms. All five students in the vehicle at the time of its collision were juniors and sophomores at Geneva High School in Alabama.

“There were five young females, 16 and 17 years old, who were all close friends and have been friends for several years,” Lt. Michael McDuffie tells PEOPLE. “They were just out enjoying Christmas break riding around in a rural part of our town.”

“Our town has two major rivers that come together and a levee that surrounds the entire town,” he continued. “This was an access road that goes over the levee. It appears at this time, we’re not completely sure just yet, but when they went over that hill, she lost control of the vehicle, slid off the road and hit a large oak tree.”

Cassidy Dunn, Addyson Martin and Emilee Fain
Cassidy Dunn, Addyson Martin and Emilee Fain
| Credit: VSCO

The group’s vehicle, which McDuffie described as a Lincoln mid-sized sedan owned by the driver’s family, crashed into a wooded area after it ran off of Westville Avenue.

All three girls who were found in the front seat were pronounced dead on the scene. The two girls who survived the accident suffered some injuries. One survivor has been taken to a Birmingham hospital because of the severity of her injuries.

“We received a call earlier from a family member,” McDuffie said. “She’s in the children’s hospital in Birmingham and she’s in stable condition. She has had surgery. Doctors are optimistic and say she’s going to be okay.”

The fifth student involved in the accident “had minor bumps and bruises, and she was released,” McDuffie said.

Geneva City Schools
Superintendent of Geneva City Schools Ron Snell’s tweet
| Credit: Geneva City Schools/Twitter

McDuffie, who is the lead investigator in the incident, also confirmed that an official report about the accident has not yet been released. At this time, the driver’s identity cannot be shared.

The school district, Geneva City Schools, announced on Twitter that a special ceremony would be held at First Baptist Church Geneva sanctuary on Thursday beginning at 10 am.

Ron Snell, superintendent of Geneva City Schools, responded to the tweet, writing, “If you need to talk, pray or cry; or you can offer an ear, a prayer or a shoulder the sanctuary with pastors and counselors will be available.”