On Valentine’s Day, 1987, six teens were killed in a crash on a country road. I was nearing the end of my shift on this Saturday night when I heard a call on the radio of a serious car accident on a country road between McFarland and Delano, two neighboring farming towns about a half hour north of Bakersfield. I drove in from the McFarland side and right up to the scene. What I had arrived upon was a horrific scene of pure tragedy. Two vehicles, one carrying a group of Delano teens and the other a group of McFarland teens, had collided head on at high speed on the road. There were no skid marks. The speculation was they were playing “chicken.” Six of the teens were dead, killed instantly, and five others were injured. According to the CHP, none of the 11 teens in the two vehicles were wearing seat belts. It was a night time crash, and the officials had brought in portable lights to illuminate the scene. This would be a major investigation by the CHP’s major accident unit. I remember looking into one of the vehicles – it was a pickup truck – and seeing something I’ve never forgotten. Several of the teens, lying on top of the other, lay dead. If not for the knowledge of what had happened and the disintegrated exteriors of the vehicles, you would have thought they were sleeping. There was no blood, no dismemberment. Just what looked to be sleeping kids. And something else – one was clutching a pair of white sunglasses in his hand. He was wearing a tuxedo. It was prom night for one of the schools. I knew, of course, that I was shooting what was now one of the top news stories in the country. I had to shoot a picture that conveyed the tragedy, try to tell as much of the story in one image. This is that image. It would be yet another heartbreak for McFarland. The town was gripped with fear and uncertainty as children were dying – six in all – as part of an unsolved cancer cluster, and a year earlier, two runners on the high school’s girls cross country team were struck and killed by a truck as they were practicing. I don’t know if the CHP ever determined whether the two drivers were playing chicken, as they initially suspected. The CHP officer in the middle of this image is Travis Mitchell, who I got to know very well through the years, as I shot dozens of accidents that he worked.