By Tom Tolen /

Two of the Brighton Area Schools’ Pack of Dogs social-emotional learning animals visited Howell High School today, along with their handlers, in the aftermath of a double fatality accident that killed two Howell students and injured two others over the weekend.

The crash occurred late Saturday night at the corner of Hacker and McClements roads, east of Howell, in Genoa Township. The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office says the driver of a 2007 Ford F-150 pickup was going east on McClements Road when he failed to stop at the intersection of Hacker Road and collided with a 1998 Honda Civic driven by a 19-year-old South Lyon resident, who was going south on Hacker.

Two of the occupants in the pickup, including the 17-year-old driver from Fowlerville and one of the passengers, a 16-year-old Howell youth, were thrown from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. The other passengers in the truck were taken by Livingston County EMS to Providence Hospital in Novi with non-life threatening injuries. The Honda driver was transported to the U of M Hospital in Ann Arbor, also with non-life-threatening injuries. Sheriff’s deputies say neither alcohol nor drugs were a factor in the crash. None of the occupants of the pickup was wearing a seat belt.

According to Karen Storey, who is in charge of the Pack of Dogs program, two of the therapy dogs — likely Duncan and Scout - went to Howell with their handlers. The therapy dog program — which keeps adding new dogs — now has 14 fully trained social-emotional learning dogs and has visited many schools around Southern Michigan to give comfort and emotional healing to students and staff in the wake of tragedies. The most recent visits were in response to the shooting deaths of four students and wounding of seven other people on Nov. 30th at Oxford High School in Oakland County. 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley remains lodged in the Oakland County jail, charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder, terrorism and other charges.

The Pack of Dogs and their handlers visited the Oxford Middle School nine times, meeting with students and staff to comfort and cheer up the students. The Brighton POD program also is in the midst of a GoFundMe drive to raise $50,000 in order to purchase therapy dogs — at $10,000 apiece — for the Oxford Schools. According to Storey, they have raised $20,000 so far towards that goal.

Oxford School District officials posted an open letter on the district's Facebook page to the Brighton Area Schools, praising the district for its generosity in sending the therapy dogs and handlers to Oxford and for the GoFundMe drive.