Jan 3, 2011 10:41 AM by Andy Koen

Counselors available to students at Canon City High

Grief counselors are at Canon City High School this morning to help student cope with the loss of a classmate. State troopers say Samantha Gaunt, 17, died Sunday morning when the Ford Mustang she was driving went off the road and hit a tree in Penrose.

CCHS Principal Bret Meuli says he and his staff are trying to balance creating a safe and comfortable place for students while also continuing with their academic schedule.

Meuli says Gaunt played for the Tigers softball team and also was involved in club level sports throughout the year.

Several schools in the area have called to express their condolences and offer their support.

Guidance counselors from Florence High School and therapists from West Central Mental Health have also offered to help console students during the day if needed.

"We just do the best we can for our kids to have as many counselors here as possible," Meuli said.

Hundreds of friends and relatives gathered at the site of the accident Sunday night to remember Gaunt.

State Patrol is still investigating the accident, but in a statement released Sunday night Sgt. John Hahn said that speed appeared to be the leading contributing factor. Gaunt was not wearing a seat belt and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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