PLYMOUTH, N.H. (AP) -More than 500 Plymouth State University students stood in the rain to say goodbye to one of their own Monday, a young woman who died in an SUV crash a week ago during what police suspect was a sorority hazing.

Kelly Nester, 20, of Coventry, R.I., was one of 10 women in the SUV that crashed near campus. The crash ejected her out the back window and injured the others, some of whom were blindfolded.

Two students from Maine, Olivia Lucca, 22, of Manchester and Brittany Hilton, 18, of North Berwick, were injured in the crash.

At the campus “memorial rock,” some women who were in the SUV clutched yellow roses and pushed wet hair from their faces as a bell on campus rang 21 times. One of them, Shannon McNally, 20, limped across campus carrying a wreath with her dead friend’s name on it.

An a cappella group Nester was a member of sang about the importance of carrying on in a song called “Lonesome Road”.

Police took Nester’s family to the accident site after the service.

University President Donald Wharton, the only speaker to mention how Nester died, told students only positive change would serve Kelly’s memory.

“We are all diminished by this tragedy, and the circumstances which produced it,” he said.

“Let no one in this audience or in this university merely make promises or resolutions. By themselves, they are empty.”

The SUV driver, Nicole Dalton of Rochester, 20, told police she skidded on wet leaves at the time of the crash. Police said Dalton may have been purposefully jerking the steering wheel just before the accident, but her lawyer said that was not true.

Plymouth Police Chief Anthony Raymond said authorities are still viewing the results of a “vehicle autopsy” on the SUV but were almost finished completing interviews with all women in the car.

After the procession, Nester’s sister, boyfriend and friends described a generous, talented compassionate young woman with a love of fashion, trendy tattoos and body piercings.

In a letter read at the service, McNally said she remembered she and Nester holding each other’s hands when they got their first tattoos and how Nester would sing “On Top of Spaghetti” to her before she went to bed at night.

Nester’s sister, Kristen, said Kelly was a natural at working with small children.

“She would have been an awesome teacher. One that would have made a difference,” Kristen said. “Not that she hasn’t already.”

AP-ES-10-27-03 1753EST

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