3 student-athletes mourned after deaths in separate crashes in Southern California
Three student-athletes were killed in two separate crashes in Southern California in a two-day span, authorities said Tuesday.
Jaylon Connish, 17, a student at Warren High School in Downey, was killed, and two other teens were injured in a single-vehicle crash Saturday night on the 5 Freeway.
Less than 48 hours later, brothers Josh and Jeremy Page, students at Edison High School in Huntington Beach, were involved in a fatal collision on their way to school. Josh, 18, was killed in the crash. Jeremy, 17, was taken to a hospital, where he died hours later, officials said.
All three were members of their schools’ football programs, their coaches said. Connish had committed to play for Western New Mexico University, Warren football coach Kevin Pearson told KNBC-TV, noting the teen was “one of the most wonderful young men that I’ve ever coached.”
Pearson said he had spoken with the New Mexico coach, who also was devastated by the news.
“I said, ‘Man, you have no idea what you’re going to miss,’” Pearson recalled telling the coach.
The district is considering closing Pio Pico Middle School due to declining enrollment, a districtwide trend.
Connish was riding in a car with two other teens about 10:45 p.m. Saturday when the vehicle veered off the road near the 605 Freeway, struck a light pole and rolled down an embankment, California Highway Patrol officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the car to swerve.
Connish died while being taken to a hospital, CHP officials said. The car’s 18-year-old driver and a 17-year-old passenger remained hospitalized Tuesday with major injuries from the crash. Connish and the other passenger may not have been wearing seatbelts, authorities said.
The Downey Unified School District said it was offering mental health support to students.
“Our Downey Unified family is heartbroken that we have lost one of our Warren High School students, a young man with a bright future ahead of him who has been such a big part of our Downey Unified family,” the district said in a statement. “Our prayers are with our two students who are currently fighting and, as a Downey Unified family, we will rally around them and their families to support them during this extremely challenging time.”
At Edison High School in Huntington Beach, “we are all mourning this tragic loss,” the football team posted on Twitter following the crash that claimed the lives of the Page brothers. The post included a link to a GoFundMe page launched to support the family. By Tuesday afternoon, it had raised more than $100,000 toward its $150,000 goal.
The boys were traveling to school Monday in a 1990 Ford F-250 when their pickup truck collided about 8:15 a.m. with another truck near Newland Street and Yorktown Avenue. The other vehicle, a 2018 Chevrolet Silverado, belonged to the city of Huntington Beach. Officials did not say whether the driver, a 38-year-old man who was not injured in the crash, was a city employee or if he was on duty at the time of the collision.
On Monday night, the brothers were remembered by hundreds during a candlelight vigil at Edison High School.
“The Page brothers, all three of them ... they treat people the way they wanted to be treated, and they’re just special, special guys,” said Edison football coach Jeff Grady, who coached Josh and Jeremy Page as well as older brother Jovanni.
“We are extremely saddened by the loss within our community,” the Huntington Beach Union High School District said in a statement. “Our focus right now is to offer support to the students, staff, and families that have been affected by this tragedy.”
The crash is under investigation by the Irvine Police Department because of the involvement of the Huntington Beach vehicle, officials said.
Times Community News writers Sara Cardine and Matt Szabo contributed to this report.
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