Candlelight Vigil Held for Teen Victims

By: Alex Goldsmith Email
By: Alex Goldsmith Email

It was an emotional night for the Holt community.

Hundreds converged on a park behind the Holt-Delhi Township library to mourn the loss of 17-year-old Holt senior Holly Bossenberry and 18-year-old recent Holt grad Taylyr Cochran.

The two were killed in a car accident in Meridian Township early Sunday morning. Two more in the car were injured including football captain Anthony Harris, who is listed in critical condition at Sparrow Hospital.

Holly's friends lit up just thinking about her.

"Her smile could light up the whole room," said Mckenzie, a Holt senior who declined to give us her last name. "She always brought energy into the room with her."

"She was always had the best advice," said Marena Cruz, a Holt senior as well. "She was best listener ever."

Holt students wore black to school. Other tributes included ramen noodles and Chex Mix dropped off at Bossenberry's locker.

Many of Bossenberry's friends knew Brett Johnson, the driver of the vehicle that slammed into a tree. Although Johnson is accused of driving under the influence, charges he was arraigned on in Mason Monday afternoon, some at the vigil defended him.

"It could've happened to anyone," said Mckenzie. "They've been behind the wheel of a drunk driver countless times, it wasn't just Brett. I cannot blame Brett for this and I feel terrible for him."

Friends remembered Taylyr Cochran, who was a student at Lansing Community College, as a quiet person who opened up if you gave him time.

"He was really quiet until you got to know him and got him talking," said Mckenzie. "He was a really down-to-earth person."

"[Holly and Taylyr] had a really close togetherness," said Kasey Carpenter, currently a senior at Holt. "It's sad that they died together because Holly loved Taylyr as if he were his own brother."

The grieving process is just beginning for many at Holt High School and students acknowledged that it wouldn't be easy.

"It's the worst feeling in the world to lose a best friend," said Cruz.


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  • by Goes to Holt Location: Holt on Feb 3, 2011 at 09:57 AM
    I go to school with all the people involved. They were all very good people.
  • by Jen Location: Williamston on Feb 3, 2011 at 06:39 AM
    Nick, I suggest you AND Nancy go join the Westboro Cult run by Pastor Nastycrazy; you'd both fit right in with your hateful, vicious words against people who are already suffering. Nice job at doing your best to kick people when they're down. You both are insensitive and rude, rude people. How dare you feel it your right to judge people who are grieving an unimaginable loss. Shame on both of you; please show us you and yours' clean slates, and then we'll talk. Otherwise, I suggest you throw down those stones you both appear to be so willing to cast at others. Karma can be quite nasty - just something you might want to think about.
  • by Mariya Location: Holt on Feb 3, 2011 at 12:28 AM
    My heart goes out to all of the families. I can't even begin to imagine the pain you're going through. Five teens made a bad decision to get into a car with an intoxicated driver. Three paid with their lives, and one will probably go to jail. The other young passenger will probably need counseling to help her deal with the survivor's guilt. Compounding this entire tragedy is the potential future that the young driver faces. One minute he was worried about graduating and the next he's worried about prison. We don't let 17 year olds drink for a reason. They aren't always capable of making good decisions on their own - especially when impaired by alcohol. I hope that the friends of Brett Johnson remember him, and stand by him through this. He needs his friends now more than ever.
  • by I was a teen once Location: Holt on Feb 2, 2011 at 06:29 PM
    Harsh! Don't you dare judge these parents- they need your prayers, not your judgement. I guess I don't understand being as perfect as you - because I lied to my parents about CURFEWS. I have driven when I should not have and I have definitely been in a car when I shouldn't have been when I was young. Thank the lord that my decisions did not have a tragic outcome as this situation. I have news for you- we are all human and make mistakes. When that book gets written, please make sure you send a signed copy to us all.
  • by nick Location: okemos on Feb 2, 2011 at 12:50 PM
    Heck Nancy! Don't apologize. These kids AND THEIR PARENTS need to hear it all. Maybe, just maybe, others will learn from Brett's bad decision. Wish people would stop defending Brett as well. I'm sure he's a nice kid, but somewhere along the way, he thought he was invincible and above the law. 17, and already drinking and driving? Sure hope more kids learn from this.
  • by Holt resident Location: Holt on Feb 2, 2011 at 11:01 AM
    Comment to Debra, you wrote "Stay HOME if you want to drink it is a law for a reason..." Well it is also a law that you have to be 21 to drink and buy alcohol and clearly none of these students were of legal age to do that! So sure the driver was drunk and he must suffer for what he has done but surely he is suffering in his own hell right now, Prison probably not the best answer for him, but the question is who bought this alcohol for these students and why have they not been arrested yet? They are the ones that should be punished with prison! Prayers to the families of all involved.
  • by Nancy on Feb 2, 2011 at 10:19 AM
    I'm very sorry, I was upset. Very Sorry!!
  • by Shawn Location: Holt on Feb 1, 2011 at 08:22 PM
    Nancy, my daughter was in the accident. Thankfully, she will be ok. You say one word-CURFEW. Do you honestly think My husband and I or the other parents did not have a curfew for our beloved children? What utter ignorance your comment shows. My daughter had a curfew, my daughter made a bad decision in stepping foot in that car, one that will have life long consequences. You must be a prefect parent with perfect children. Do us all a favor and write a book, so we can all learn to be like you.
  • by Holt Student Location: Holt on Feb 1, 2011 at 07:30 PM
    Nancy..no need to be rude
  • by Nancy Location: Haslett on Feb 1, 2011 at 10:37 AM
    One word - CURFEW.
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