A vigil was held to remember two teens who were killed in a crash in Colchester on Friday and the police and Department of Public Works are working to improve the safety around the site of the accident.
The vigil to remember 18-year-old Jacob Chapman and 18-year-old Tyler Graham was held on the Colchester Town Green on Sunday.
This comes as the police and the Dept. of Public Works are working to improve the safety around the accident site, where they said many community members have set up a memorial.
Hundreds of people gathered at the Town Green as they grieve the loss of two young men who grew up in Colchester. People were asked to wear red - the pair's favorite color.
"It's just said. 18 years old. So much life ahead of them," said Charles Mazzola, of Colchester. "There's been an outpouring of support from all the communities around Connecticut."
"In no way, shape or form is it okay that two 18 year olds passed away in a car accident," said Marissa Mazzola, of Colchester.
A car was trying to pass another car at a high speed on the left when it veered off the road and hit a metal beam guardrail as well as multiple trees before falling down an embankment, according to authorities.
Chapman, who was driving, was pronounced dead at Marlborough Medical Clinic and his passenger, Graham, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A second passenger, identified as 19-year-old Trey Massaro, of Massachusetts, was transported by Lifestar to Hartford Hospital with serious injuries, state police said.
“Tyler and Jake were two peas in a pod as far as anyone was concerned. They were the best of friends. They had the best group of friends. They were always laughing. They were always happy," Marissa said.
Chapman, Graham and Massaro are all members of the Western Connecticut State University men's lacrosse team, according to the school.
School officials said Chapman was a first-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management degree and Graham was a first-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems degree.
Massaro is a first-year student pursuing a B.S. in Justice and Law Administration-Law Enforcement, WCSU added.
University President John B. Clark released a statement saying three members of the school's lacrosse team were involved in a deadly traffic accident, but did not specify where the crash happened.
"Our counseling center has met with players and coaches of the lacrosse team and we will also provide counseling to students in Litchfield Hall, where the three team members lived on campus, as well as any students in need," Clark said.
The school said it is planning on having a memorial for Chapman and Graham on campus soon.
The First Selectman's Office in Colchester released a statement on Saturday saying in part, "Our Colchester community is heartbroken over the sudden loss of residents Jake Chapman and Tyler Graham. Both Jake and Tyler were deeply committed to their community and to their schools. Full of promise and hope for the future, they represented the best of Colchester's young people and will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved them."
Connecticut Valley Lacrosse also released a statement saying in part, "Last night we learned of the passing of our of our Class of 2021 Alumni, Tyler Graham. Tyler was a phenomenal athlete, someone who would do whatever it takes to make his mark on the field, and a player whose work ethic was so infectious that those around him pushed themselves to be the best they could be. Life is too short. Tyler we will miss you as will all whose lives you’ve impacted."
“The past couple of days have been a hurricane of emotions. I don’t think a lot of us know how to handle it. It’s been very hard trying to figure out what we’re feeling," Marissa said.
Both Chapman and Graham attended Bacon Academy in Colchester, WCSU said.
Mutual aid was called in from Hebron, Gardner Lake, Marlborough, along with multiple paramedics and two Lifestar helicopters, according to fire officials.
The accident is under investigation.