Lancaster County church creates memorial for students killed in October crash

WARWICK TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. --- Outside the St. Paul Lutheran Church on West Orange Street, a pair of benches hold a significant meaning.

One of the benches is for Jack Nicholson, 16, and the other is for Meghan Keeney, 17.

The two Warwick High School students were killed in a car crash between the school and the church last October.

In the wake of the crash, Pastor Robert Myallis said the community embraced a "makeshift" memorial set up outside of the church.

With concerns of how it would hold up in poor weather, Myallis said they sought a permanent solution.

A ceremony Sunday opened the site, which was put together solely through donations.

“I don’t think grief has a statute of limitations and so we want to give people a place where they can come, reflect, remember good times, also grieve their loss,” said Myallis.

Rylan Beebe, 17, survived the crash in October.

He was in attendance Sunday for the ceremony, alongside dozens of students, family and people in the community.

“I’m glad they put it there and there’s something to remember them by," said Beebe.

He said the memorial is another example of the community showing support now months after the crash.

“It’s been pretty amazing. People have just been nice and just in general, I don’t ask for things and they just do it.”

Donna Nicholson Stief, Jack's mother, said she thought the memorial was "awesome."

“I think it’s a wonderful reminder of community, love, friendship. It’s just beautiful that this could come out of such a massive tragedy,” said Nicholson Stief.

Both Jack and Meghan's family expressed their gratitude to the church for their efforts.

“They didn’t have to do this. It was something that they wanted to do and they just walked out their faith and showed the community what love really looks like and gave us this and it’s beautiful," said Nicholson Stief.

The driver accused of causing the crash, Debra Slaymaker-Walker, 63, faces a number of charges including third degree murder, homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.