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Loss Of Four Teens In Car Accident Shakes Community

School is back in session in Pennsylvania which means that the football season has also kicked off. But what is usually the most exciting time of the year for student athletes and fans turned extremely tragic for a New Jersey community that lost four high school football players in a fatal SUV rollover accident last month.

Although the Aug. 21 accident is still under investigation, it was reported that the accident involved an SUV carrying eight players between the ages of 15 and 17 that crashed on the Garden State Parkway in Linwood on a Sunday morning.

Police said that the players were on their way to meet teammates for brunch in Mays Landing, when the 17-year-old driver is believed to have lost control of the vehicle after turning a corner and approaching heavy traffic. A state police spokesman said that the SUV flipped several times and two of the young men were ejected. One of them was struck by a passing car.

Of the eight players in the vehicle, four were killed and the other four were injured. A vigil was held at the Mainland Regional High School for the young men and about 3,000 students, parents, teammates and community members gathered to express their grief, support and disbelief. Three of the four boys who were injured were in attendance.

The school superintendent told reporters that the four players who were killed were great kids who were loved by their peers, and that while the school had lost students in the past, they have never experienced multiple deaths like this.

This tragic accident reminds teenage drivers and their parents the potential danger that comes along with the freedom of driving a motor vehicle. It also is a reminder to follow the state laws in effect regarding teen driving, such the New Jersey one that generally only allows drivers under 18 to carry one passenger without a parent in the car.

Buckle up and drive safely this school year.

Source: Associated Press, “Grief takes many forms at vigil for 4 NJ teens,” Josh Lederman, Aug. 21, 2011.