It’s stories like these that I hate to write about. Four high school football players were killed in a car crash Saturday in New Jersey, while four other players in the vehicle survived. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of all who died and were injured in this horrific crash.
Eight families have been affected by this tragedy, four of them dealing with grief beyond what we as parents hope we never have to encounter. To lose a child is unimaginable, and my heart aches for those parents.
The football players attended Mainland Regional High School in Linwood, New Jersey. Saturday morning, all eight of the players were riding in an SUV, a 2002 Ford Explorer, en route to Old Country Buffet where they were meeting other players for breakfast. The driver of the vehicle, Casey Brenner, 17, reportedly lost control of the SUV while approaching heavy traffic on Garden State Parkway. The vehicle flipped several times, and two of the passengers were ejected from the SUV. One of those ejected was hit by a moving car. The driver of the vehicle was killed as was Dean Khoury, 15, Nicholas Conner, 16, and Edgar Bozzi, 16. The injured players were Jacob Smith, 17, Kyle Beattie, 16, Alex Denafo, 16 and Kenneth Randall, 15. Beattie, Denafo and Randall were treated at the hospital and released. Smith remains hospitalized. It is unclear if the boys were wearing seatbelts or not.
A vigil was held at the school’s football stadium Sunday, where thousands attended to mourn the loss of the four killed in the accident. A Facebook page, “R.I.P Mainland HS Boys. Gone but never forgotten.” now has over 30,000 people who have joined. It’s incredibly sad to read some of what these teens have posted, many of whom are still trying to understand and question why this happened.
Mainland Regional High School’s first football game is scheduled for September 9th, undoubtedly a difficult game these young men will have to play.