Students at North Country Union High School wrote down their fondest memories of classmate Tyler Collins. Many are still shocked by his death. The 16-year-old junior was killed in a car crash Monday night in Coventry. His two teenage passengers were injured.
"This is the first time they've ever experienced death or a loss of a classmate," NCUHS Principal Bill Rivard said.
Counselors were called in to help console grieving students. The principal described Collins as a good kid, well-liked by his peers. He worries that this tragedy will have a lasting impact.
"Today is one day. What we did is we got through today with a lot of support a lot of counselors on hand. And what I want to do is I just want to make sure we have that support, not only through the rest of this week, but also next week and the weeks to come, because people grieve in different ways," Rivard said.
It's still early in the investigation, but police say a sheriff's deputy witnessed Collins' car speeding on Alderbrook Road. He turned on his lights and sirens, but temporarily lost sight of the vehicle until he caught up to it at the intersection of Route 14. That's where the deputy witnessed the crash.
"He observed the car drive straight through the intersection entering onto Route 14, at which point it was struck by the truck," Vt. State Police Capt. Tim Clouatre said.
His mangled car-- testament to the impact. Collins was not wearing a seat belt and died at the scene. Police say because of his age, he wasn't supposed to have other 16-year-olds in the car. He was going 22 miles over the speed limit and his inspection sticker had expired. Investigators believe Collins knew he was being followed and say that probably influenced his driving behavior.
"It's an unfortunate incident and speed, no seat belt and this is the 61st fatality on Vermont roads this year. It's the seventh fatality for the Derby barracks out of six crashes and we really need to get the message out that we need to get the public slowing down," Clouatre said.
The investigation continues. Police say they believe it was just speed that contributed to the crash, not drugs or alcohol. The other students' injuries were minor.
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