Fourth teen dies after pre-graduation crash in Ohio

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CINCINNATI — An 18-year-old boy died Monday, a day after he was thrown from a car just hours before his high school graduation in a northeast Ohio crash that killed three other teens.

The Metro Health Medical Center in Cleveland released a statement from Kevin Fox’s family Monday morning saying he had died. No other information was released.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming support that the northeast Ohio community has given our family during this difficult time,” the Fox family statement said.

A car carrying Fox and four other teenagers went airborne, crashed, and flipped onto its roof at a railroad crossing early Sunday. Fox was ejected from the car’s backseat and landed in a ditch. He was flown to the hospital.

Fox and 18-year-old driver Jeffrey Chaya were to graduate from Brunswick High School on Sunday afternoon. Chaya also died.

Also killed were Blake Bartchak, 17, and Lexi Poerner, 16. A 17-year-old girl, Julia Romito, was injured, but Southwest General Hospital wouldn’t release information on her condition.

All five were students at Brunswick High School. In a tearful commencement ceremony Sunday afternoon at the University of Akron, Chaya’s and Fox’s names were called, there was a moment of silence, and empty seats covered with flowers were left for them.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says the 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier was traveling at a high speed just after midnight Sunday as it hit the railroad tracks in Columbia Township. The driver lost control as the car went off the right side, then swerved back off the left side of the road, hitting a ditch and tree before flipping over onto the roadway, the Patrol said.

Autopsies were pending. Patrol Lt. Travis Hughes said lab results and an analysis of the crash will take weeks.

Troopers so far blame excessive speed. Hughes said he knows of no other fatal crashes at the crossing in recent years.

The school district asked students to display a sense of unity by wearing the Brunswick High School color, blue, to classes.

Students were given the option of skipping their final exams Monday and Tuesday and instead have their third and fourth quarter grades averaged.

The district sent grief counselors to meet with students, teachers and staff members upset over the accident.
This article was provided by The Associated Press Wire.  (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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