Three high school students die after driver's ed crash

WARWICK -- 16-year-old Lucas O'Connor died Wednesday from his injuries sustained when the vehicle he was riding in during his driver's education class crashed into a tractor trailer in Warwick on Tuesday.

The driver, 16-year-old Claudia Krebs was released from the hospital. Two other students in the back seat, 16-year-old Antonio Baglivo and Paul Van Doran were also killed.

Their 61-year-old instructor was recovering at home.

The Goshen Schools have lowered their flags in honor of the students. The sad news of O'Connor's death was relayed to mourners attending a vigil at the Board of Education.

"I saw the picture of the car on the news and I just shut down. I knew one of my kids was in that car," said Russ Ferdico, a karate instructor.

One of Ferdico's students was Paul Van Doran. A 16-year-old, he describes, with an infectious personality. And as a student of karate, he gave it his all.

"150 percent every day. He overcame a lot of challenges, everything I threw at him. He just kept going, he never quit," Ferdico said.

He made black belt in three years.

Facing a new challenge this summer, Van Doran and three others students met Tuesday morning for their driver education class. The important points of their lessons were still on the board.

The four students and a driving instructor pulled up to the flashing red light at Blooms Corner Road. A tractor trailer on County Road 1 had a flashing yellow light.

Police say the truck hit the rear driver's side door of the car in the intersection when the car pulled into its path.

"It was pretty scary though. The big truck hit the car it, it just skidded off the side here," said Devan Mendicycki, a driver.

At the site of the crash in Warwick, students have setup a small memorial with flowers.

"If that had been a permanent signal with a red stop that young person would not have entered that intersection," said Michael Sweeton, the Warwick Town Supervisor.

It's an intersection Sweeton says has been the site of numerous accidents and fatalities.

Now he reveals county officials have agreed to meet over this safety issue.

"Hopefully we will get some positive response and get the county out there to put in a permanent signal," Sweeton said.

And hopefully some believe to prevent another tragedy.

"He had a lot to offer. Unfortunately we lost him way to young," Ferdico said.

Since 2005, there have been a total of 36 accidents at the intersection. Two fatal accidents, including this one, have left three people dead. Additionally 16 people have been injured to go along with 18 instances of property damage.

No one has been charged or ticketed, and the crash remains under investigation.

The school superintendent released a letter that read in part,

"I encourage families to communicate with their children as much as possible. If parents/guardians feel that they need advice about how to speak with their children or what to share, they should feel free to reach out to the Guidance Department and speak to a counselor who can offer support. Additional resources are:

--Orange County Helpline: 1-800-832-1200
--Mobile Mental Health Team: 1-888-750-2266
--Orange County Department of Mental Health: 845-291-2600" null
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