Four University of Georgia students were killed and another critically injured in a car crash, officials said early Thursday.
The Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry said two vehicles were involved in the accident which took place at around 9 p.m. ET on Highway 15 just south of Athens, Georgia.
One of the cars was carrying five young women from the University of Georgia, Berry told NBC News. He said four died in the crash and another is in critical condition. It was not immediately clear if the driver of the second vehicle was injured.
The identities of the victims have not been released.
"I'm a parent of college students and right now my main priority is to notify these parents about their little girls," Berry explained to the University of Georgia's student newspaper.
Students at the school — which has around 27,500 undergraduates — held a vigil after midnight to pray for their peers, according to the school newspaper. The crowd held steady through the night, the paper reported, with scores of people crying.
The University of Georgia said it was "deeply saddened" over the "heartbreaking and tragic loss" of the four students and injuries to the fifth.
"We ask that you keep these students and their family and friends in your thoughts and prayers," the school said in a statement.