SHARON (KDKA) — Three people are dead, including two high school football players, and four people were injured, including two children, after a head-on crash between an SUV and pickup truck late Friday night in Mercer County.
According to Sharon Police, the accident happened around 10 p.m. at Connelly Boulevard, just west of the Oakland Avenue viaduct.
Police in Sharon say 17-year-old Cory Swartz was driving the Mazda SUV that crossed the center line on Connelly Boulevard and slammed head-on into the pickup truck driven by 50-year-old John Zdalar, of Brookfield, Ohio.
Swartz and his passenger, 17-year-old Evan Gill, both seniors and members of the Sharon High School football team, died at the scene.
His sister, Amber Swartz, received the tragic news a short time later.
“I feel like this is a dream I will never wake up from. I know I won’t ever be the same; I know none of my family will ever be the same,” she said. “I feel like a part of me is missing.”
Zdalar was taken to Sharon Regional Health System hospital, but was pronounced dead just before 11 p.m.
A 10-year-old passenger was taken to Children’s Hospital for treatment, and a 12-year-old passenger was treated and released at Sharon hospital.
Two other Sharon High School football players, Craig and Gregg Osmon were passengers in Swartz’s SUV. They’re in serious condition at a Youngstown hospital.
According to police, the teens were heading back home after watching a football playoff game at Hickory High School Stadium.
Firefighters, police, numerous ambulances and medical helicopters were all called to the scene. The road there was closed until 3:30 a.m. while officials investigated and cleared the scene.
Meanwhile, Sharon High School coach John Wildman shared the tragic news with the team Saturday morning.
“I told them they’re probably feeling the same kind of emotions that we as coaches are – confused, angry, upset, wondering why, feeling like something was stolen from them,” Wildman said.
Wildman says the victims represented the best of Sharon football.
“They were unselfish, they worked hard on and off the field, they were well liked and respected by teammates and classmates and teachers in the building,” the coach said.
The Sharon Tigers had a Class AA playoff game scheduled for Saturday, but it was canceled because of the accident.
“As we’ve told everybody – that’s a game, this is life and death, and we’re focused on making sure all of our kids have what they need,” said Michael Calla, the acting superintendent.
Grief counselors talked to members of the football team Saturday, and more will be available Monday to meet with students and faculty.
Wildman says the team has decided to play the game on Monday.
“It was a resounding yes, they want to play,” he said. “We’ll try and do our best for Cory and Evan.”
Sharon Police and the Mercer County Medical Examiner’s Office continue to investigate the accident.