Samantha Pinson was just 5 years old when her mother died of cancer, and for years she bounced from home to home. A few years ago, while living with her grandmother in New York, she called a family friend. She missed her friends in Boston and wanted to come home.
“She was always family to me,’’ said Dawnmarie Hines, who took Pinson in to her Fields Corner home and later adopted her. “Not by blood, but still family.’’
On Tuesday morning around 4:30, Pinson, 19, and two friends were killed when their car careened off a curve and slammed into a bridge abutment on Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester. The three victims, close friends who had grown up together, were coming from a nearby party together, authorities said.
“She was the light of everyone’s eye,’’ Hines said through tears outside her home Tuesday, where friends and family gathered for support. “She made everyone around her smile.’’
Authorities did not name the victims, but friends and relatives identified them as Pinson, John Doherty-Carter, 20, and Paul Reagan, 19.
“They were real good guys,’’ one friend said at the scene of the accident, where friends left flowers and looked on in dazed silence. “I can’t believe they’re gone.’’
State Police said the car was heading north near Popes Hill Street when it veered off the road, through a gap in the guardrail, and up a short embankment. It rolled over and struck the concrete wall, coming to rest on its roof. Rescue workers had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate them.
The men were pronounced dead at the scene. Pinson was pronounced dead later at Boston Medical Center.
They were not wearing seat belts, police said. There was no evidence of alcohol consumption in the vehicle, but State Police investigators are looking into whether excessive speed or alcohol use were factors in the single-car crash.
State Police said they do not know the cause of the accident or who was driving, but that it remains under investigation.
An employee at Dunkin’ Donuts placed an emergency call to report the crash. Investigators closed the road at Neponset Circle, causing traffic delays during the morning commute.
At her Dorchester home, Doherty-Carter’s grandmother described the 20-year-old as a “good boy’’ and said the family cannot believe that he is gone. She declined to say more, saying she was not sure that her daughter would want her to. His parents could not be reached for comment.
As friends came to her side, she hugged them, looking forlornly at the floor.
Reagan’s family could not be reached for comment.
At the scene of the crash, a group of young people consoled one another Tuesday afternoon as they stared at the concrete wall, then looked back to the road.
Pinson was a senior at Charlestown High School who was taking classes at Bunker Hill Community College, relatives said. She wanted to be a counselor for children in foster care, Hines said, because she knew what that was like.
“She thought she could pass it on to them,’’ Hines said. “She was so beautiful, so smart.’’
Pinson had been friends with Doherty-Carter and Reagan for years, she said. She had recently moved out on her own to a nearby apartment, but came home often.
Hines said she did not speak with Pinson Monday and did not know her plans.
“At 19, they think they know everything,’’ she said. “Nineteen years old - she had her whole life ahead of her.’’
As a relative spoke with authorities, Hines asked that they send Pinson’s jewelry home. She always wore a necklace that had been her mother’s, she said.