ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – We’re learning more about some of the victims in the deadly street racing crash on Louisiana Boulevard earlier this month. The incident left two people dead and sent three to the hospital.
Two of the young girls in the crash were freshmen at Sandia High School, and one of the deceased was the mother of one of those girls.
News 13 spoke with their volleyball team coach, who said the whole situation has deeply affected the team, but they’re rallying around the families and trying to fundraise to help them.
“They’re missed. Their presence is missed on the court. Their energy is missed around campus,” said Emily Conway, head volleyball coach at Sandia High School. Alanah Hamilton and Sawyer Bennett are Sandia High freshmen and beloved members of the school’s C-Team volleyball squad.
“Definitely energy. Sawyer is a big goofball, a leader on the court. Alanah is very inclusive, wanting to make sure everyone feels welcome and just sweet to everybody,” Conway said. She heard news of the crash the day after it happened. “At that point, we didn’t know what their severity level was. We knew that there was a possibility of one of the parents being killed,” she recalled.
According to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), the October 8 crash happened as two cars were racing down Louisiana. Jenna Hamilton—Alanah’s mother—and the two girls were in a third car that was hit by the other two as they pulled off of a side street. Alanah and Sawyer were taken to the hospital in critical condition; Jenna died on the scene.
“I was able to talk to Sawyer’s mom, and she said that the girls were in critical condition. One of the girls had been sedated for until she got pelvic surgery the next day. The other one had been in and out but had been more lively,” Conway stated, “At that point, she told me that Jenna Hamilton had passed away, Alanah’s mom, which…was heartbreaking and tragic.”
“We had practice that Monday. We didn’t have school, but we had practice, and all the teams were informed we got together and made cards and my coaches went to go see her. Both of them,” Conway said.
In the aftermath of the crash, the volleyball team is working to raise money for the families as they recover through a GoFundMe page; they are collecting donations at their home games and have an account at New Mexico Bank and Trust people can donate to.
“Thursday night we had our pink uniforms, and we had them both on the bench for Alanah and Sawyer, and then we had a moment of silence for them, and two of our girls were holding their uniforms while we spoke about Mrs. Hamilton and just the impact she had on Alanah’s life and her being so involved, and it was a beautiful moment,” Conway explained.
“It was a lot. There were a lot of tears, but it was definitely, it was nice to have the community come together,” she commented.
She said Jenna was a committee member for their fundraising efforts for Pink Warrior House, a nonprofit that supports those battling breast cancer.
“When they (Pink Warrior House) found out that we were going through a tragedy, we had already fundraised a whole lot of money for them but they were like, ‘Hey, can we give back to you guys in this?’ So, they are a great foundation,” Conway said.
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Conway said the Bennett and Hamilton families have a message about street racing:
“Both of the families would like to just say, ‘It’s not worth it.’ You know, it’s not worth risking somebody else’s life for that little adrenaline rush,” Conway stated, “Jenna couldn’t have done anything, which is so sad. Just that it’s somebody else’s life in your hands, and you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Conway said the families are also calling for harsher laws against street racing, and: “They also wanted to say that they absolutely love and care for the community, and they’re so warmed that the community has reached out to them in so many different ways.”