DERRY — A Derry teenager was killed last weekend on a Canadian highway.
Sixteen-year-old Mary "Diane" MacPherson-Therrien was pronounced dead at the scene on Aug. 8 following a two-car crash in Colchester County, Nova Scotia. Her mother, Mary, was also injured in the accident and was taken to a Halifax hospital.
Therrien was a member of the Class of 2011 at Pinkerton Academy.
The two women were traveling home from a family reunion in Cape Breton when the acccident occurred. The girl's grandparents, Donald and Diane MacPherson of Londonderry, were also attending the reunion and were traveling in a separate vehicle and were not injured in the accident.
Many who knew the teen began posting online condolences and were saddened to hear of another young death from a traffic accident. The news also hit one local organization at its heart.
Community Alliance for Teen Safety (C.A.T.S.) began more than a decade ago following a string of fatalities on area roadways involving young people in the Greater Derry area. The organization works to bring awareness and information to teens and their families on health and safety issues. Upon hearing about the girl's death, C.A.T.S.' executive director Susan Centner said she was saddened to hear the news and is always hurt to know another family is dealing with such a tragic loss.
"I am so saddened to hear this community has lost another teenager," Centner said. "There are so many people in organizations and agencies in this community who have the safety of youth as their mission . It is the loss of a young person has an incredible ripple effect, family friends, her school, the community
Centner said the loss of a young person can have an incredible ripple effect on not only family left behind, but friends, school and community.
"Even people who don't know her, it's a life that's lost, full of promise not to be fulfilled," Centner said. "It's hard to know what to say; our hearts go out to the family and the community."
And because the victim was so young, Centner added her own concern for how friends may deal with the news of the girl's tragic death.
"An unexpected loss, can be very difficult for a young person," Centner said. "I encourage them to reach and out talk to someone they trust, to share their sadness, and help them share their loss."
The Pinkerton Academy Crisis Counselors are available to Pinkerton students by calling Mrs. Deleault in the school’s Guidance office. Students may calll 437-5200, extension 1179.
Calling hours at Peabody Funeral Home, 15 Birch St., Derry will be Saturday, Aug. 15 from 3 to 7 p.m. A funeral service will be held at 7 p.m. in the funeral home, with cremation to follow.