ELYRIA, Ohio — Three Ohio teenagers were killed and two were injured this weekend in a tragic car crash that left a local community in mourning on a day that was supposed to be one to celebrate great achievement.
On Sunday at 12:11am, Brunswick High School senior Jeffrey Chaya, 18, was driving his 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier when he lost control of the vehicle after it crossed a railroad track.
The Highway Patrol said in a release the car went airborne after crossing the track and went off the right side of the road. Chaya over-corrected and the car then went off the left side of the road into a ditch, hit a tree and flipped over onto the roadway.
Chaya, front seat passenger Blake Bartchak, 17, and backseat passenger Lexi Poerner, 16, died in the crash. Chaya was expected to graduate later that day.
Backseat passengers Kevin Fox, 18, and Julia Romito, 17, were hospitalized following the crash. Both were flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. A hospital spokesperson said Fox was in critical condition Sunday but wouldn’t release information on Romito because she is a minor.
KCTV reports that less than 13 hours after the crash, Brunswick High School students left empty seats covered with flowers at their graduation ceremony to remember driver Jeffrey Chaya and Kevin Fox, who was also set to receive his high school diploma.
“It was very sad,” Superintendent Michael Mayell said after the commencement ceremony at the University of Akron. “There were a lot of tears.”
While the cause of the crash — and whether alcohol or drug use was involved — is still unknown at this time, Ohio State Highway authorities say high speed was a factor. The OHP added that lab results and an analysis of the crash will take weeks.
Fox8 has more on the tragic Ohio car crash in the video below: