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Longmeadow High School mourns death of senior following crash early Saturday morning

Longmeadow High School students are mourning the loss of a “beloved” classmate whom officials identified Monday as the victim of an early Saturday morning car crash that also injured two others.

Katarina Boskovic, 18, died after a vehicle she was riding went off Green Willow Drive in Longmeadow and crashed into a tree, according to statements by Longmeadow police and Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni’s office.

Police responded to the crash scene about 1:35 a.m. and also found a second passenger, who was taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield with life-threatening injuries, the district attorney’s office said. A boy who authorities believe was driving the car suffered minor injuries, the district attorney’s office said.

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“Charges relating to motor vehicle homicide and operating under the influence will be charged appropriately,” the district attorney’s office said.

The crash is under investigation by Longmeadow police and the district attorney’s Motor Vehicle Homicide Unit, the statement said.

In a message to Longmeadow High School families and staff on Saturday, Superintendent Marty O’Shea wrote that Boskovic was “a beloved member of the Longmeadow community.”

“As an outstanding student athlete and a volunteer coach with the Longmeadow youth track program, Kat touched many lives,” O’Shea wrote. “She also attended Williams Middle School. Our deepest condolences are extended to Katarina’s family, friends and the LPS staff who loved her.”

Boskovic was a captain on the girls’ cross-country team that won the Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference Championship last fall.

Hundreds of students packed St. Mary’s Parish in Longmeadow Sunday night to grieve together and remember Boskovic, according to the church’s pastor, The Rev. Christopher J. Waitekus.

Waitekus said he did not know Boskovic personally, but he was approached by students who asked if he’d open the doors of his church for a vigil. The church, which seats about 600, quickly filled, with many people standing as Boskovic’s classmates took turns speaking into a microphone, he said.

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“I didn’t know this young lady, but after listening to student after student after student get up there, I said to myself it’s amazing how one young person can really influence her fellow students,” he said. “These kids had no problem getting up and crying and [talking about] this young woman’s integrity and her humor. ... It was a powerful, powerful moment in that church.”

The vigil began at 7 p.m. and eventually shifted outdoors, where people prayed, sang songs, and held candles, Waitekus said. The gathering lasted until about 11 p.m. when the last students left the church.

Friends and classmates left flowers and a Kit-Kat candy bar at a memorial set up near the crash site Saturday.

In response to the death, which comes less than a month before graduation, Longmeadow High School was open for three hours Saturday afternoon, with counselors available for staff and students in need of support, according to O’Shea’s message. Teachers, coaches, and administrators were also at the school Saturday, O’Shea wrote.

“It is hard to process such a loss,” Longmeadow High School Principal Tom Landers wrote in a separate message to the community.

Both administrators and the district attorney’s office expressed condolences to Boskovic’s family.

The crash is the latest in the region to result in the death of a teenager with a young driver behind the wheel, as motor vehicle crash fatalities have surged nationwide in recent months. On Feb. 12, an 18-year-old died after crashing into a guardrail in Dover. A month later, an 18-year-old was killed when he drove off a causeway in Marblehead. The next day, a 16-year-old driver crashed into a tree in Marshfield, killing a 17-year-old passenger.

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Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.