"It's a horrible way to start the school year. Last year it was the State Trooper, this year it's this," said school counselor Joanna Exline, 62. "To lose her. She was beautiful, sparkly, just a great girl.
"We're gonna look out for anybody who comes along and needs help," she said, adding that grief counseling would be available.
Exline said Conley liked basketball and cheerleading, but her transferring to and from Kentucky made playing problematic.
"At the end of the school year last year, she was wanting to check her credits and see if she's going to graduate on time because she lost credits in some of these transfers. I remember the look on her face, she lit up like a lightbulb when I said 'Look, Kara, you're gonna have 26 credits! You're gonna have them Kara.' She couldn't believe it," Exline said.
The first semester Conley came to the high school, she transferred in as a sophomore and was placed in Melody Osborne's biology class.
"Everybody liked her, she was pretty as a doll, and she was really interested in her digital imaging class where they came around and took photos and made videos for the lobby to run each week," said Osborne, 37.
"They came into my class because we were always doing something weird in lab and they wanted photos of something gross. She was a real sweet girl, really outgoing, and everybody liked her. She was always friendly from the minute you met her.
"So many friends. Her and her little boyfriend broke up last week. But she always had all kinds of friends. It's a shame."
Conley would have turned 18 on Oct. 1.
A mother's grief
The driver of the vehicle, Murphy, was at home Wednesday afternoon after being released from Saint Francis Hospital.
His mother, Stacy Murphy, said her son is traumatized.
"He's not doing good at all. He's been crying, upset, depressed. And Kara Conley was one of his best friends. He tried to save her, but he couldn't get no response," she said.
Stacy said she asked the hospital if he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and the nurses said that all test results came back negative.
"He told me last night -- yesterday evening -- that they were going to Booger Hole to see haunted chimneys," she said. "That's what the boys have been doing, and the girls, and all their friends.
"They were coming back at 3:30, 4 in the morning. And he fell asleep behind the wheel."
Stacy said he was driving a friend's truck, who was a passenger. She said all the people in the truck were friends of Isaac's.
"I love all of them. I treated them just like they were mine."
Stacy said she hasn't heard from any of the other families yet, but she knows what it's like to lose a child.
"He lost his half-brother a year and a half ago. He had Cerebral Palsy, and he was on life support for two weeks. He was just 21 years old. Isaac has had a really hard time with all of this."
"I know what it's like as a mother to lose a child. It's just like I'm doing it all over again. I'm sorry for the family. It's one of the hardest things I ever went through, losing a child. I'm praying for the families."
Baylous said speeding was a factor and marijuana was found at the crash site. Baylous said officials are awaiting toxicology reports to determine whether drugs were a factor in the wreck.
The accident is under investigation by the Clay County detachment of the West Virginia State Police.
Writer Charlotte Smith contributed to this story.