Survivors of a van crash on an icy Oregon freeway that killed two young people from Colorado and left two others critically injured say they are trying to come to grips with their loss.
"I still keep waiting for this to be a dream," Sarah DeVries, 18, told The Baker City Herald.
"I'm still waiting for Taune and Josh to walk through that door," she said.
Joshua John Pischura, 20, and Taune Nicole Winter Pepper, 23, both died in the Thursday morning crash on Interstate 84 near Baker City.
They were among 16 young men and women from the New Life Worship Center in Federal Heights, Colo., traveling to Portland when their van slid on black ice and rolled several times, ejecting most of them.
Pischura, from Geneva, Ohio, died shortly after the accident while Pepper, from Deer Trail, Colo., died later Thursday at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho.
Listed in critical condition Friday at Saint Alphonsus were Aaron Stearling Werntz, 19, of Freeport, Ill., and Phillip Joel Harris, 24, from Attalla, Ala.
Lt. Gregg Hastings of the Oregon State Police said Friday it may be several weeks before investigators complete their report on the crash.
The van appeared to be at full capacity with 15 passengers and the driver, but the investigation must be completed to determine how many aboard were wearing seat belts, Hastings said.
The Colorado church group was headed to a business convention in Portland where they planned to work for 10 days to raise money to support their ministry in a Denver suburb.
"It was just routine for us _ we travel all over the country to work these trade shows," Nicole Byrd, 25, told the Baker City Herald.
Byrd was driving the van. She and the 15 passengers belong to the Rocky Mountain Masters Commission, a training program affiliated with the New Life Worship Center.
During the nine-month program, students learn about leadership skills and provide free programs for community youth, including dance, music and sports.
"All we do is love on them," Byrd said. "It's a community in need of people to love them. We came from our hometowns to make a difference in the lives of these kids and their families."
By working at trade shows and conventions, the students earn enough money to cover the cost of the community programs, plus tuition and housing.
Byrd said they are also raising money to build a community center. All programs are now held in the church basement.
At St. Elizabeth Health Services in Baker City, where Byrd and six van passengers were treated and released Thursday, staff member Bob Borders called Nazarene Church pastor Jon Privett to get clothes from the Northeast Oregon Compassion Center.
The seven students _ still traumatized from the accident _ stayed with the Privetts, as did a nurse to help with bandages and medications. On Friday, everyone awakened to a fresh breakfast cooked by members of the community.
Bo Sosa, New Life Worship Center's senior pastor, said Friday the survivors are suffering emotionally as well as physically.
"They are beat up real bad. Their hearts are beat up, too," he told The Denver Post.
Sosa met with some of the survivors who were staying in a Baker City pastor's home.
"I tried to give them the biggest, gentle hugs I could. I said, 'We are going to make it through this'. We held each other and prayed," Sosa said.
Byrd said the response from Baker City reminded her of Federal Heights, where the church family rallies whenever it's needed.
"That's exactly what I felt here, even at the hospital," she said. "The love they were hurting from our situation."
Three passengers were listed in serious condition Friday at Saint Alphonsus: Christine Sandra Aki, 18, of Golden, Colo.; Katherine Elizabeth Darlene Pischura, 18, from Geneva, Ohio; and William Chris Rodgers, 22, of Lakewood, Colo.
Two passengers taken to Grande Ronde Hospital in La Grande, Ore., with non-life-threatening injuries were identified as Lavan Ahmad Sayed, 24, of Louisville, Colo., and Ashley Wenk, 18, whose hometown was not available.
The six passengers treated and released at St. Elizabeth Health Services hospital in Baker City were: DeVries, of Golden, Colo.; Marketa Larie Smith, 26, hometown not available; Brett James Iserman, 20, of Dakota, Ill.; Katherine Elizabeth Coppock, 19, of Cave Creek, Ariz.; Christian Wence, 19, of Ault, Colo.; and Javaar Zakori Howard, 18, of Denver.
Last May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a summer travel season warning saying that research shows 15-passenger vans have a much higher rollover risk than other passenger vehicles, especially when fully loaded.