Indian River to honor two students killed in Tuesday’s crash

Balloons fly in the wind Tuesday while remaining tied to a tree at the site of a fatal crash along County Road 18 in Evans Mills. Two Indian River Central High School students died in the crash early Tuesday morning that left two more injured. The injured people, Kenneth J. Perez-Hernnandez, 19, and Christina McKeown, 22, have now been released from the hospital. Emil Lippe/Watertown Daily Times

PHILADELPHIA — As the investigation into Tuesday morning’s deadly crash continues, a celebration of life event has been scheduled for Thursday evening in honor of the two Indian River Central High School students who were killed.

According to police, at around 12:06 a.m. Tuesday, a 2007 Cadillac was traveling south on County Route 18 when the driver lost control, went off the roadway, and struck a tree. Two of the four passengers, Lexie M. Morgan, 17, and Gabriel M. Otero, 16, were found ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.

“There’s no doubt the last two days have been really challenging, and we’re doing the best we can to navigate through this awful, tragic situation,” Brian A. Moore, principal of the high school, said. “The best way we know how to do that is to rally together.”

In an effort to do just that, the Indian River community decided to hold the celebration of life event beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and continuing until about 7:30 p.m. According to Mr. Moore, the event is being organized by Tammi L. Dindl, president of the Indian River Pop Warner Cheerleading Association.

Originally, the event was scheduled to take place at the Philadelphia Fire Hall, but due to the outpouring of support from the Indian River community and beyond, it became clear that a larger venue was needed, so the location was changed to the theater at the high school.

Attendees are asked to bring dishes to pass around for a sort of potluck meal, and tables will be set up for donations for the students’ families, with both monetary and food donations accepted.

Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to make cards and remembrance boards for both families, so attendees are encouraged to bring photos, markers, poster board and other crafting items as well.

“We’re providing an opportunity for our people to come together to talk, to cry, to share and generally care for each other,” Mr. Moore said.

The Indian River Crisis Team will be available at the school, along with school and district administration, to help students and staff cope with news of the students’ deaths, with anyone in need of assistance, having any questions or wishing to express concerns encouraged to contact the school at (315) 642-3427.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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