The lives of two Florida high school students were tragically cut short when the vehicle they were traveling in crashed into a pine tree within the Ocala National Forest, according to WFTV. Police officials have identified the victims as William Wetherington, 16, of Silver Springs, and 17-year-old Katherine Livengood, of Bellview.
It was reported that just shortly before 6 p.m. on Friday, William was driving a red 2001 Chrysler 300 on Northeast Fourteenth Street near the intersection with County Road 314A when he suddenly veered off the road when he failed to make a left turn on the curved roadway.
The Florida Highway Patrol crash report indicated that William traveled on the shoulder before crashing head-on into a large pine tree, which prompted the vehicle to overturn.
It was alleged that both teens were wearing seat belts during the time of the crash, but it did not impede Katherine from being ejected from the vehicle.
When emergency medical services arrived at the scene, there was nothing they could do to save William. He was pronounced dead by the Marion County Fire Rescue. Meanwhile, paramedics transported Katherine to Ocala Regional Medical Center where she later succumbed to her injuries.
Troopers say the impact of the crash severely damaged the car. Remnants of the vehicle and the motor were scattered throughout the area.
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A Marion County Public Schools spokesperson, Kevin Christian, stated that William and Katherine were eleventh graders at Lake Weir High School.
After residents learned that Katherine and William were killed in a crash, messages of condolences poured in on social media for the teens. Some staff members at Lake Weir High School said that the teens were “great kids,” and they will be missed.
Skylar Kane, a tenth-grade student at Lake Weir High School, rode the bus to school with William every day, according to Ocala. She said she remembers the teen as “having the best jokes, always cheering people up, and always being easy to talk to.”
“You could always talk to him about anything,” Skylar added.
Christian stated that this is the “second double tragedy” that Lake Weir High School has faced this month. He went on to say that the school will have grief counselors for students and staff for as long as they need it.
The crash is still under investigation, but the Florida Highway Patrol troopers were able to determine that speed played a role in the fatal crash.