EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 7, 2013

Derry teen struck Friday returns to school

DERRY — Lauren Gendreau, 13, is recovering physically from injuries sustained when she was struck crossing Manchester Road Friday night.

She even returned to classes at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School yesterday.

The girl she was with, 15-year-old Sophia Christen of Manchester, died as a result of her injuries.

Psychological recovery will take longer, according to Lauren’s mother, Lynn Gendreau.

“She’s still traumatized from the whole thing,” Gendreau said yesterday.

Lauren, an eighth-grader, was with a group of friends from Gilbert H. Hood Middle School at a carnival set up in the parking lot of Ocean State Job Lot.

There, Lauren and her friends met Sophia and her friends, and the girls explored the carnival together.

“They were just having cotton candy and enjoying themselves,” Lynn Gendreau said. “They had literally just met for the first time that night.”

Gendreau said five of the girls decided to cross Manchester Road to Burger King to use the bathroom.

That’s when tragedy struck.

“They were all just inches away from each other,” Gendreau said.

The girls were walking east across four-lane Manchester Road near the intersection with Ashleigh Drive, close to the Burger King entrance.

There’s a four-way traffic light, a pedestrian crossing signal and a crosswalk.

“I don’t think in any way that it wasn’t a safe avenue to cross,” Lauren’s mother said. “But I do believe there wasn’t enough police supervision, knowing people could be crossing the street either coming or going to carnival.”

Chris Cross works at Dino’s Roast Beef and Pizza across the street from Burger King.

“I remember being afraid that someone was going to get hit,” Cross said. “A few kids at a time would keep running across the street.”

Cross said the intersection doesn’t have many pedestrians, but on Friday night, things were different.

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