Police are investigating a fatal car crash that occurred around 1:40 p.m in Gates Mill, Ohio, east of Cleveland.
Four seniors at local Hawken School, all 18 year-olds, were riding in a black Jeep Cherokee when it swerved off of the west side of the road and crashed a tree. No other vehicles were involved in the car crash.
Three of the passengers in the vehicle were taken to nearby Hillcrest Hospital, where one was pronounced dead immediately after arrival. According to the school, another student has been pronounced dead.
A Medical Examiner from Cuyahoga County has identified the two students that have passed as Joshua Weil of Cleveland Heights and Alexander Doody of Chagrin Falls. The two other passengers have yet to have been identified.
Doody was a basketball star for the school and was named News-Herald Classic MVP in early April. He was an honorable mention for Division III All-Ohio basketball.
Weil was a midfielder on the lacrosse team and a kicker and linebacker on the football team in the fall. He was named second team for Division V in 2014.
“They were great boys and talented athletes,” said Danielle Comp to NewsNet5, who visited the crash scene later Thursday evening. “They were going to great schools. The car that crashed, I’ve been in that car multiple times and it pains me.”
Police have stated that the driver of the car was unharmed. The other passenger has injuries that have been described as not serious, according to the school district.
The following statement regarding the crash was released by D. Scott Looney, Head of School.
“Our thoughts are with the families of these boys, their friends, teachers and all of the other members of our community who must deal with this tragedy,” Looney said. “In light of this tragic event, school will be closed tomorrow, Friday, May 15, at both the Gates Mills and Lyndhurst campuses. All after-school activities, including athletics, are canceled.” According to local police, the students were on their way back to school to work on a project when the crash occurred.
School has been cancelled at both campuses of Hawken School for Friday, but counselors will be available at the upper campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for students to discuss their grief concerning the tragic crash.
The catastrophe comes just days before the school is set to hold its Hawken Centennial Celebration marking the school’s 100th anniversary. Class reunions and picnics for alumni are scheduled throughout the upcoming weekend.
Officials say they are still figuring out how this fatal car crash will affect the upcoming celebratory events.
The road where the crash transpired remains closed as of 5 p.m. while the Valley Enforcement Group Accident Investigation Unit and Gates Mills police investigate.
The police that are still investigating have reported that the cause of the crash appears to be speeding.
[Image Source: Hilary Golston/WKYC-TV]