PRINCETON (CBSDFW.COM) – Two teenagers from Collin County were killed in a single-car accident early Sunday morning in the town of Princeton. Investigators said that a Mazda hatchback, packed with seven teenage boys, rolled. Two teens died and the other five passengers were all hurt during the crash.
The two deceased teenagers have been identified as 17-year-old Cody Hensley and 17-year-old Stephen Chaney. Both of the killed teens attended Collin County Cowboy Church where, on Sunday night, more than 100 people gathered for a vigil. “It’s hard to see someone so strong and capable be gone,” said Chaney’s father, Lonnie Chaney, at the vigil.
When the vigil ended, the mother of a teenager who survived the crash pulled Lonnie Chaney aside. Chaney said that she told him that his son’s final words to her son were to go check on the others. “It just touched by heart again,” Chaney said. “Even in his last moments, he did the right thing.”
Throughout the day, people came to the intersection of Monte Carlo Boulevard and Florence Drive, where the crash happened, to look and pause. “It’s unbelievable,” said Darienne Hawkins, who attends Princeton High School. “I can’t believe this is happening.”
Six of the seven teens involved in the crash are either students or recent graduates of Princeton High School, including Chaney. Hensley attended McKinney North High School. “It’s really hard knowing that [Chaney] is not going to be at school anymore,” said Hawkins. “It is just really, really hard.”
Grief counselors will be at both Collin County schools on Monday to help students cope with the losses. And a message from Princeton High School’s principal asked teachers to talk to students about Chaney’s death, reminding everyone that it is okay to cry.
Students and staff members gathered Monday morning at the Princeton High School flagpole to mourn their classmate’s passing. “He was spirited,” said principal Rene Mullins. “He kind of wanted to do things his own way. School was kind of hard for him at times, but he had a great spirit and we all loved him very much.”
Officials with the Princeton Police Department said that the crash is still under investigation. The driver was confirmed as 19-year-old Joshua Bartlett. Investigators believe that he simply lost control of his car on a curve. Officials also noted that, despite seven teenagers being inside, the vehicle only had five seat belts. Those who survived the crash have injuries ranging from minor to critical. Two of the surviving victims remain in the hospital.
“It hurts everybody,” said student Haley Gentry. “You didn’t expect it to happen to those boys. They were sweethearts.”
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