About 200 people gathered at Carleton University Monday to remember the lives of three students killed in a January collision that left an SUV in a crumpled mess.

Vanessa Crawford, 19, Brianne Deschamps, 19, and Mark MacDonald, 20, were killed Jan. 23 when MacDonald's SUV collided with an OC Transpo bus at Riverside Drive and Heron Road.

"When a tragic event like this occurs, it's hard to believe it's real," Rev. Tom Sherwood told CTV News.

"In fact, Mark's mom was saying to me just a moment ago that it still doesn't seem real and she thinks she's going to be numb for a few more days," Sherwood said.

Tragey hits close to home

The tragedy has hit home for many students, including those who didn't know Crawford, Deschamps or MacDonald.

"We all feel it here," said James Porter. "Even though you didn't know them, they're still part of our families."

While it's been difficult for the Carleton community to cope with the unexpected loss of three young lives, those attending the memorial stressed the importance of carrying on and moving forward.

"I knew Vanessa. She was on my dance team with me and it's just been a very difficult time and I believe that students coming together to support one another during this time of need is very important," Komal Minhas told CTV News.

The tragic collision not only has students remembering three young lives, but it also serves as a reminder to be cautious when travelling in a vehicle.

"I don't know the circumstances of what happened but I know I'm thinking twice every time I sit in a vehicle," said Minhas.

Another passenger remains in hospital

Two other students were also injured in the January collision.

Passenger Ben Gardiner was critically injured and remains in hospital. MacDonald's 19-year-old girlfriend was released from hospital shortly after the crash.

The bus driver involved in the crash was treated at the scene for minor injuries and maintains he had a green light as he headed through this intersection.

With a report from CTV's Aliya Jiwan