HANCOCK COUNTY, W.Va. (KDKA) – Three teens were killed Saturday night after crashing into a fire truck in West Virginia.
Hancock Sheriff Ralph Fletcher and several deputies were back at the scene of the accident along Route 8, near Tomlinson State Park, where 16-year-olds Krysten Butcher, Kalen Blake Rice and John Emmett Snow were killed.
Police say their car was trying to pass another car on the two-lane highway, when they were hit by an oncoming fire truck traveling in the other lane.
Butcher and Rice died at the scene. Snow was pronounced dead at East Liverpool Hospital. All three were students at Oak Glen High School, where they had just left a basketball game.
“Our school community is devastated by this,” Oak Glen School District Superintendent Suzan Smith said. “These students are so young and, you know, they were so happy, full of life and it’s very difficult to try to understand why they were taken away from us at such a young age. I can’t even imagine what the families are going through.”
The fire truck, from the Manchester Volunteer Fire Department, was responding to a possible chimney fire prior to the accident.
Assistant Fire Chief Chad Lamp says six firefighters were in the truck at the time of the crash – three of whom were injured. However, all of the firefighters tended to the teens in the car and tried to help them.
The three injured firefighters were taken to the hospital and have since been released, but Lamp says the crash will stick with them and the community.
“This event will have a lasting and far-reaching impact on our community with the lives of many people involved both directly and indirectly changed forever,” Lamp said in a statement.
Oak Glen School District has received an outpouring of support from neighboring districts, offering grief counselors to help students get through the terrible tragedy.
Counselors may be made available to first responders as well, including the New Manchester Fire Department.