A 16-year-old Derry girl has died after she was injured Monday night in a crash in Atkinson that killed a Salem teen, according to a spokesman at Boston Medical Center.

Melissa Burns, a passenger, was rushed to the Boston hospital following the accident on Island Pond Road. Robert Stuart, 18, was killed when the car he was driving slammed into a tree. Police said they believe speed was a factor in the fatal crash.

The families of both teens declined comment Wednesday night.

A woman who answered the phone at the Burns home in Derry said family members had been visiting the home all day following the 16-year-old's death.

Stuart was pronounced dead at the scene by an assistant medical examiner. He was traveling west in a 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier when his car veered into the opposite lane, went off the road, and hit the tree shortly before midnight, police said.

Neither Stuart nor Burns were wearing seat belts. State police, who are still investigating the accident, would not confirm yesterday that Burns died from her injuries. The trooper handling the investigation, Tamara Hester, could not be reached for comment.

Stuart, a student at Timberlane Regional High School and Greater Lawrence Educational Collaborative, was to graduate from both schools next month, according to his obituary. No further details on Burns were available last night.

A makeshift memorial of potted flowers and a sign was placed at the tree where the crash occurred.

A poster board that read "R.I.P. Robbie" was posted on the tree Tuesday alongside photographs and notes from friends and family.

Stuart is survived by his parents, Kathleen and Robert Stuart, two sisters, and numerous other relatives.

Calling hours for Stuart are today from 3 to 6 p.m., at Douglas & Johnson Funeral Home in Salem. The funeral service begins at 6 p.m. at the funeral home.

Anyone with information on the accident is asked to call Hester at 679-3333.


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