TORRANCE ( — Friends, family and students gathered at a Torrance high school gym Thursday night to remember two best friends who died early Monday morning in a Santa Barbara car crash.

The crowd lit candles and released balloons with messages attached to honor Danielle Murillo and Jessica Leffew, seniors at North High School.

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The 17-year-old girls were returning from a concert with their boyfriends when the 2005 red Mazda they were in hit a guardrail, causing the vehicle to flip over.

Seconds later, a suspected 52-year-old drunk driver collided with the Mazda on the southbound 101 Freeway.

Murillo and Leffew, along Leffew’s boyfriend, were killed. Murillo’s 20-year-old boyfriend, the driver of the vehicle, was critically injured.

Murillo’s father, Manuel, said he’s comforted by the fact that his daughter touched so many lives.

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“It helps me to get through this and times when I get depressed and think I’ll never see her again, I look around and I know all her friends have a piece of her in their heart,” he said.

Just weeks before graduation, the deaths of Murillo, who dreamed of being a psychologist, and Leffew, who wanted to be a nurse, hit the school hard.

“Even though your time here was cut short, your spirits will live within us forever,” a student said. “Stay at peace my angels. You’re home now.”


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2 Torrance Students Killed In 101 Freeway Crash In Santa Barbara