Connecticut Post (Sunday)

Community mourning 2 WCSU lacrosse players killed in Friday crash

- By Liz Hardaway Staff writer Adam Hushin contribute­d to this report.

COLCHESTER — Two Western Connecticu­t State University students were killed in a crash in Colchester Friday afternoon, state police said.

Police later identified the students as Colchester residents Jacob Chapman, 18, and Tyler Graham, 18.

A third student, later identified as Trey Massaro, 19, of Dalton, Mass., was airlifted to Hartford Hospital with suspected serious injuries, according to state police.

Massaro suffered serious injuries but is expected to recover, WCSU President John Clark said Saturday.

“We continue to mourn the loss of two of our promising young students and hope for a strong recovery for Trey,” Clark said.

In his announceme­nt, Clark said there are plans to hold a memorial for Chapman and Graham on campus, with more details to be released soon.

All three are freshmen at the university and members of the men’s lacrosse team.

Both Chapman and Graham were pursuing a bachelor of business administra­tion in management from the Ancell School of Business. They also had attended Bacon Academy in Colchester, the university said Saturday.

Massaro is pursuing a bachelor’s of science degree in Justice and Law Administra­tion-Law Enforcemen­t from the Ancell School of Business. He attended Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton, Mass., according to WCSU.

Colchester First Selectman Mary Bylone said the community is heartbroke­n over Champman and Graham’s deaths.

“Both Jake and Tyler were deeply committed to their community and to their schools,” Bylone wrote on her office’s Facebook page. “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.”

Police were notified of the crash, which took place on Lake Hayward Road near the Route 354 intersecti­on, around 1 p.m. Friday.

An incident report from Troop K said Chapman was driving a red 2010 Nissan Altima westbound on Route 354 when he attempted to pass another car at a high speed. For an unknown reason, the car left the road and collided with a metal guardrail and multiple trees before stopping down an embankment, according to the incident summary.

Graham, who was in the passenger in the front seat, was pronounced dead on the scene. Chapman was transporte­d to the Marlboroug­h Medical Clinic and was later pronounced dead, state police said.

Massaro was airlifted to Hartford Hospital with serious injuries, according to state police.

Route 354 at Lake Hayward Road was closed for about five hours and the crash is still under investigat­ion, police said.

An outpouring of support and condolence­s filled social media on Saturday following news of the deadly crash.

“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,” Connecticu­t

Valley Lacrosse posted to its Facebook page. “Life is too short. Tyler we will miss you as will all whose lives you’ve impacted . ... We will never forget you and the time you spent with our program.”

Graham had played with the program in addition to his time with the Bacon Academy team.

Chapman started playing lacrosse when he was 10 years old, according to his ConnectLax profile.

Teams who played the duo also spoke highly of them.

“The lacrosse community suffered a great loss yesterday,” East Catholic Boys Lacrosse wrote on its Facebook page. “Our love and prayers go out to the Bacon Academy lacrosse program, WestConn Men's Lacrosse, Colchester community and most especially the friends and families of Jake Chapman and Tyler Graham (Class of 2021) who tragically lost their lives. They were great competitor­s on the field and were taken from us far too soon. May they Rest In Peace.”

A Colchester resident organized a candleligh­t vigil for the two boys. The vigil will take place Sunday at 6 p.m. on the Colchester Town Green at 98 Hayward Ave.

Colchester Youth Services will be offering counseling in the coming days for anyone who needs it.

WCSU’s counseling center met with the lacrosse team’s players and coaches. WCSU will also provide counseling to students in Litchfield Hall, where Chapman and Graham lived, and other students who seek services, Clark said Friday.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States