A Sanford High School senior died in a fatal crash just over the New Hampshire border late Wednesday.

Lydia Ashline, 17, died at the scene of the crash in Rochester, according to family and local police. The single-vehicle crash occurred on Salmon Falls Road. Ashline, a passenger in the car, was dead when police arrived. Two others in the vehicle were uninjured.

Ashline’s family doesn’t know why she was in Rochester, which is a border town about 15 miles south of Sanford. On Friday, they were focused on sharing good memories of her, like when she helped her older neighbors clean or carry groceries or when she learned how to ride a bike.

“I taught her how to ride a bike in the church parking lot across from my mother’s house when she was 4 or 5 years old,” said her aunt, D.J. Ashline. “She was a great kid, with a great head on her shoulders, and a caring heart that would help anybody. Life is too short.”

Ashline’s grandmother, Lynn Pinkham, said Ashline had come into her own in recent years and was committed to living life to the fullest — and helping the less fortunate do the same.

When one classmate who was pregnant struggled to afford baby clothes, Ashline covered the cost, Pinkham said. As a member of Sanford High School’s Peer Helpers Club, she helped secure free school supplies for low income students.


“She wanted to save the world,” Pinkham said. “Even one person at a time.”

Sanford Superintendent Matt Nelson described Ashline as “easy to love and incredibly resilient.” Her aunt said Ashline was eager to graduate and was considering which trade to pursue that would allow her to travel the world.

“Her loss hits Sanford High School and our school counseling department as well as everyone who taught Lydia especially hard,” Nelson said. “Lydia made an impact on everyone she came in contact with.”

In a letter to the school community, he asked parents to monitor their children for signs of emotional distress in the wake of Ashline’s death and encouraged students to reach out to the school’s counseling office.

The family is planning a private funeral service.

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