Rescue crews from four departments respond to a deadly two-vehicle crash along the Shenango Valley Freeway, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 in Sharon, Pa. Two high school football players died Friday night in the crash that also killed a third person, according to state high school sports officials. (AP Photo/The Herald, Cory Byknish)
SHARON, Pa. (AP) – A high school football player preparing for a playoff game lost control of his sports utility vehicle, leading to a head-on collision that left him, a teammate and the driver of the other car dead, and two of their teammates injured.
Sharon Police Chief Michael J. Menster said in a news release that Sharon High School player Corey Swartz, 18, was driving with three teammates when he crossed the median on a highway in Sharon and hit a truck head-on.
Also killed were Swartz’s passenger, Evan Gill, 17, of Sharon, and the pickup driver, John Zdelar Jr., 50, of Brookfield, Ohio.
The Sharon City School District’s acting superintendent, Michael Calla, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that speed may have been a factor. Sharon police said that investigators do not suspect that alcohol, drugs or texting were a factor in the crash.
“They feel that speed was probably a factor and the car that Corey was driving, he lost control and he may have overcompensated and ended up in the lane with the other vehicle,” Calla told the paper.
Swartz and the other players had been watching another playoff game before the wreck occurred at about 10 p.m. on Friday. Twin brothers Craig and Greg Osmon, 17, of Sharon, were injured and required surgery, Menster’s release said.
Zdelar’s passenger Evan Wallace, 10, was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital. His other passenger, Blake Yenderak, 12, was released after getting medical treatment, police said.
Police and the Mercer County coroner did not return messages seeking comment.
Calla told the paper the players were senior leaders on the team and in the school, which has about 860 students in grades 7-12.
“It’ll be a loss felt for a long, long time in Sharon,” he told the Post-Gazette.
The playoff game that had been scheduled for Saturday in Erie against Girard High School was postponed until Monday. Calla said the school plans to consult the families about whether or how the school might memorialize Swartz and Gill.