Two teenagers were killed in a one-vehicle car accident early Sunday morning, according to Washington County Coroner Tim Warco.
Justin Crawford, 17, of Washington, was driving in the 3000 block of East Maiden Street when he lost control and struck a tree around 11:15 p.m. Saturday, said South Strabane fire Chief Jordan Cramer.
“We were dispatched at 11:15 exactly,” Cramer said. “We arrived to find a vehicle into a tree with heavy damage.”
Nevaeh Sheets, 17, also of Washington, was a passenger in the vehicle. Both she and Crawford were pronounced dead on the scene, Cramer said.
Crawford and Sheets were both students at Trinity Area High School. Sheets was studying cosmetology at Toni&Guy Hairdressing Academy.
Friends took to social media Sunday afternoon to share photos and memories of Crawford and Sheets, who were known to light up rooms.
“He meant a lot to us,” said Kayla Craig, of Washington, whose daughter Hailie Craig knew Crawford well. “Hailie is the most heartbroken about the loss of Justin. Some of the happiest moments in our life included Justin. He was an amazing person, and he will forever live on with our family.”
Katrina Koteles met Crawford in sixth grade, and they remained best friends through freshman year of high school.
“I’ll never forget the day he told me he was getting his Pap’s black Corvette. I’ve never seen a smile so bright before. He told me, ‘I can’t wait until I get my license.’ Me and Justin had so many more unforgettable memories at school, the mall, my house, the car and the fair that I will forever hold in my heart,” Koteles said. “But my heart breaks to see my best friend at one point pass away so suddenly. He was a person who lit up the room when he walked in. I’ll never forget the memories and how many times (he) stood by my side when I didn’t have anyone.”
A friend who knew both Crawford and Sheets said they were good kids.
Cramer said it appeared Crawford and Sheets were returning home from a sporting event at the time of the accident. It was the first fatal accident South Strabane has responded to this year.
“We respond to the largest section of interstate in Washington County. We go to a lot of accidents. It’s not common that we have a double fatal,” he said. “The death group, age, (of Crawford and Sheets), it’s a lot more difficult to first responders.”
South Strabane Fire Department, Amwell Fire Department, Lone Pine Fire Department and Ambulance and Chair Service responded to the scene. It was not known if either Crawford or Sheets were wearing a seatbelt.
Washington County chief deputy coroner Matt Yancosek said speed has not yet been determined, but the vehicle was traveling at least the posted 50 m.p.h.
The cause and manner of their deaths are pending investigation and autopsy.
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