DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Four students from Baylor University were heading to Louisiana on Tuesday when they were involved in a deadly car crash. Two of the students were killed. The other two students are recovering in the hospital. All four of them were originally from North Texas.
Even though school is out for the summer, students at Lake Highlands High School are coming together to remember a former classmate.
John Patrick Stewart — known as Jack — graduated from the high school just last year. He was salutatorian and a part of the band family. Students, parents and staff members said that the 19-year-old musician was very involved with helping others in the community. “All the kids were hugging each other and there were some tears,” said parent Linda Smith. “Everyone’s pretty much in shock.”
“Very good kid,” Smith continued. “Just a model student. Very smart. Very sweet boy. Had a good heart and very involved.”
“He was extremely talented, wanted to be a music educator,” said Lake Highlands High School color guard director Danny Martinez, “wanted to be a music performer, and that was his goal from his freshman year, when I first met him.”
Stewart and 21-year-old Laura Onwudinanti from Grand Prairie were killed in the Tuesday crash. They were traveling through Central Texas with 18-year-old Megan Taylor Ritzi of Fort Worth and 21-year-old Jacob Travis Hale of Dallas. Ritzi is in critical condition. Hale, who was driving, is in fair condition and expected to be okay.
The crash happened at around 9:30 a.m. as the four students were going to a music performance at Louisiana State University. Their pickup truck slammed into a tree along the side of the highway near the town of Kosse. Investigators have not said what may have caused Hale to lose control of the vehicle.
Baylor president and chancellor Ken Starr said that they “mourn the passing of these remarkably talented students who have been taken too soon from us.”
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