HICKORY, N.C. -- Hundreds of students gathered outside Hickory High School Tuesday night in memory of a student killed in a car wreck Sunday.
Jake Robertson, 17, was the passenger in a vehicle driven by best friend and fellow classmate, David Englemann.
Police charged Englemann with Robertson's death saying Englemann was speeding while under the influence of alcohol.
The accident happened 7:40 p.m. in the 1100 block of 6th Street NW in Hickory. Englemann, who was behind the wheel of a 2006 Subaru Forester had been traveling south on 6th Street NW when the vehicle it struck the curb causing it to flip several times. Neither were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.
Upon his release from the hospital, police charged Engelmann for Felony Death by Motor Vehicle, Driving while Impaired, Possession of an Open Container, Driving after Consuming by Provisional Licensee and Careless and Reckless Driving. He was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.
Grief counselors were at hand when students returned back to class Tuesday.
Students decorated Robertson's parking space outside the school, leaving flowers, and notes behind. A makeshift memorial bearing a cross also remains at the crash site.
"I heard the students say first and foremost, let's not let Jake's death not be in vain. Let's all learn from this, and not get into a car and after drinking and choose to drive. It's all about decisions, that we make in life. They also knew the boys were best friends," said Beverly Snowden, a spokesperson for Hickory Schools.
Earlier in the day students organized a "blue-out," across four local schools, wearing Robertson's favorite tar heel blue.
Others wore blue ribbons and held blue candles while gathered around his parking space where the vigil was held.
Cole Lackey, the student body president says students are coping with the loss.
"They want everyone to know, we love David, and we love Jake equally. What happened, happened, we can't change anything about it," he said.
"It was by far one of the hardest days to come back and see empty desks," he said.
Robertson's funeral has been set for 11 a.m. Thursday, at Corinth Reformed Church. The district plans to bus students from the high school to the church, so students can attend the funeral.