Friends, community mourn 4 well-loved Kearney women killed in tragic post-Christmas crash

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KEARNEY, Mo. -- The community of Kearney is in mourning after four young women were killed in a post-Christmas crash on icy roads.

"I'm still kind of waiting to wake up from this dream like it's not real," Jazlynne Dawson said.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said the group of four was heading down Interstate 70 near Abilene when their pickup hit a slick, icy spot on the highway. The truck slammed into a guardrail then went over a bridge, plunging 25 feet below into a ravine, landing on its top near a set of railroad tracks.

A mother, her two daughters and a friend were all killed.

Brianna and Aria Luft

Brianna and Aria Luft were two sisters with the same spirit and part of a well-loved Kearney family.

"They have a way of making every person feel just like part of the family," friend Nicole Hanssen said. "They're the most welcoming and loving people I've ever met."

The news the two Luft daughters, just 14 and 20 years old, and their 47-year-old mom Lisa, along with Brianna's best friend, 18-year-old Saleena Senzee, were all killed in a crash on icy Kansas roads Tuesday, was stunning and heart-wrenching.

"I was just shocked," friend Brianna Facklam said. "I mean, to lose three family members in one day, and they were all so young. They didn't deserve any of that."

Facklam met her neighbor Saleena Senzee when she was just three years old. They grew up together, celebrating birthdays and enjoying sleepovers.

"She was really fun and very outgoing," Facklam said. "She was not shy at all. She could just light up a room with her smile."

Facklam also got to know Brianna Luft through Kearney High School choir, where Brianna Luft also met Jazlynne Dawson.

Brianna Luft and Saleena Senzee

"She was really bubbly, so bubbly. Social butterfly," Dawson said. "She wanted to be friends with everyone. You could meet her and in the first five minutes consider her one of your close friends. She was great to be around."

Brianna Luft and Hanssen also sang together in choir. Until they all graduated, Jazlynne and Saleena often came to performances to cheer on their pals.

To them, losing three friends and a mom in their small town feels like losing part of the family.

"With all the tears we know that just means how they affected everyone in a positive way, and that's how we'll remember them," Hansseen said.

"They were just part of the community," Dawson said. "Everywhere you go and just see them, you'd run up and hug them. You're like their own child. One of their own."

But the friends are thankful and amazed to see the wealth of community support through fundraisers already set up, friends coming together to support each other and prayers being lifted.

"I hope they all know we're here for them no matter what, and we'll love and miss them every day," Hanssen said.

Brianna and Lisa Luft

Saleena Senzee graduated from Kearney High School in 2017 and was attending Maple Woods Community College.

Brianna Luft was a 2016 Kearney graduate and was attending Missouri State University in Springfield.

Aria Luft was enrolled in eighth grade at Kearney Junior High.

The Kearney School District issued the following statement:

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the Luft and Senzee families.

"Guidance counselors, our district social worker and support staff will be available to provide counseling and support for students and staff grieving during this difficult."

Aria Luft was also involved in soccer and played with the Kearney Celtic. A spokesperson for the team said, "She was a great kid and it was truly a pleasure working with her."

The Luft family and Saleena Senzee had been attending St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Liberty. A prayer vigil is being held there Wednesday evening at 7 p.m.

Two Go Fund Me pages have been set up to help the families affected. There is also a memorial fund set up at Kearney Bank & Trust Company.

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