Reporting Meghan McCorkell
CHESTER, Md. (WJZ) — A community copes with tragedy as four Kent Island High School graduates are killed in a crash. Now investigators are trying to find out how it happened.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the accident.
Four teenagers–all Kent Island residents–died in that crash. Friends and family rushed to the accident, all to get the heartbreaking news.
A horrifying accident brings a community to its knees. Four teens inside a silver Volkswagen are killed, after it collided head-on with a black Ford Focus.
“I just heard the squealing and the bang. And I ran out and jumped in my truck and ran up here because I know the sound,” said Mary Schimpf, neighbor.
The crash happened just after 4 p.m. on Cox Neck Road.
Tyler Elzey, 19, Cory Passagno,18, Michael Ringenbach, 19, and 18-year-old Harrison Rhodes Smith were all killed.
First responders on the scene needed consoling themselves. Tyler Elzey was a member of the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Company for the past three years.
“Many of the folks who were on the first pieces of apparatus there were friends of Tyler’s and had to work to try to save his life,” said Kevin Aftung, Chief of Emergency Services.
The driver of the Ford Focus and a professor at the Naval Academy, Eli Dabich Jr., was flown to Shock Trauma in serious condition.
Word of the accident spread quickly through the small community.
“There are dozens and dozens of cars lined up here on the side of the road,” Captain Jeff Long reported.
Investigators are looking into whether speed was a factor in this deadly crash.
“I believe we do get a lot of speeding complaints on that road particularly,” said Lt. Dale Patrick, Queen Anne’s County Sheriff.
The flags are now lowered outside the fire company in honor of Elzey.
“Everyone said what a great outstanding young man he was. What a great attitude he had,” said Aftung.
Now family and friends are leaning on each other with four of their own gone.
Neighbors tell WJZ there have been numerous crashes on that curve of the road due to speeding.