4 High School Football Players Killed In Crash
LINWOOD, N.J. - Grief shrouded the tree-lined neighborhoods around Mainland Regional High School on Sunday, a day after four high school football players were killed and four were injured when their SUV crashed on Garden State Parkway on their way to have brunch with some teammates.
Students, parents, community members, and football team players donned in game jerseys turned out to mourn their loss at an evening vigil in misty weather. Some of the crash survivors were among the more than 3,000 who attended the vigil at the school stadium.
Photos of the four teens killed in the crash were placed at the center of the football field, drawing the attention of the attendees while speakers discussed the teens' accomplishments on and off the field. Many in the crowd cried and hugged throughout the vigil.
"Right when it happened, I was in total shock, I was just praying it wasn't true," said Joey Geiger, 16, a member of the football team. "Every single play (this season) is now for them."
Chris Hickey of Linwood said her daughter Lauren, a junior at the school, was good friends with two of the teens killed in the crash.
"I don't even know what to tell her. I don't even know how to make sense of it," Hickey said.
Earlier in the day, the football field was still. A solitary jogger looped the track. Tackling dummies in the nearby practice field stood undisturbed.
Superintendent Thomas Baruffi said he hoped the candlelight vigil would give people a place to come together and grieve. He said he has been through student deaths before, but never multiple deaths at the same time. "They're always tragic," he said. "You know there's nothing you can say or do that's enough."
Under New Jersey law, drivers under 18 generally are not allowed to carry more than one passenger unless a parent or guardian is in the vehicle. The eight boys in the SUV ranged in age from 15 to 17.
State police continued to investigate and did not release details Sunday on how fast the SUV was moving before the crash or whether the occupants were wearing seatbelts.
The teenagers were on their way to meet other players at the Old Country Buffet in Mays Landing, one of several places players often go to eat.
Sgt. Julian Castellanos, a state police spokesman, said the driver, 17-year-old Casey Brenner of Northfield, apparently lost control of the vehicle about 11:45 a.m. Saturday as it went around a crest on the parkway and came upon heavy traffic. >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE HUFFINGTONPOST
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