As the Clarksburg community and the whole of Montgomery County continues to be shaken by the deaths of three teenage boys due a horrific crash late Tuesday night, The Difference Makers Church in Damascus will host a vigil for the victims tonight (Wednesday) at 7:30 pm. Difference Makers Church is located at 11210 Bethesda Church Road in Damascus.
The community will gather in memory of Jacob Dennis, 17, Patrick Shifflett, 18, and Cary Greene, 17. The teens were killed when the pick-up truck Dennis was driving left the road on a curve and struck a tree on Burnt Hill Road in Clarksburg late Tuesday night. Montgomery County Police are still investigating the circumstance which led to the collision.
The crash happened on the eve of Clarksburg High School’s Class of 2016 graduation. The school’s commencement exercises took on a more somber tone than expected, but were held as scheduled at Mount Saint Mary’s University this morning, as graduates, staff, and parents held a moment of silence for the three boys. All of which were members of the Clarksburg Coyotes football team.
The teens, who were all juniors at Clarksburg High School were reportedly at a pre-graduation party which was being held about a quarter-of-mile from the spot of the accident. Montgomery County Police say that a toxicology report is being conducted in this case as a regular course of the investigation, however, they do not believe that alcohol was a factor in this case.
Montgomery County Police spokesman Officer Rick Goodale said, “Investigators have no reason to believe that alcohol was a factor. There was no indications at the scene. No odor or beer cans or bottles in or around the car. Nothing like that. Investigators will do the toxicology test just to make sure, but at this point they are not looking at that as a possible factor.”
Goodale also said that police also have no reason to believe that there as alcohol served as the party attended by a number of students at a home just up the Burnt Hill Road from where the pick-up truck lost left the road and struck a tree. “At this point investigators are looking at the contributing factors to be inexperience and speed,” said Goodale. It has been reported by WUSA-TV that Jacob Dennis had just received his provisional Maryland driver’s license in March of 2016.
“Today was to be a day filled with joy in Clarksburg as the entire community was prepared to celebrate the graduation of this year’s high school seniors,” said Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice, who represents Clarksburg. “Instead, we woke up to tragedy and a reminder of how precious young lives are. It is amazing how the lives of three people at the ages of Jacob Dennis, Patrick Shifflett, and Cary Greene can touch so many. The many tributes to them that are already overwhelming social media show how quickly our world can be changed in an instant by an incident like this. I join with the Clarksburg community in feeling this loss and hope we can find strength together while we remember their lives.”
The Clarksburg community has been visited by more than its fair share of tragedy recently. A little more than a month ago the Clarksburg High School football field was the site of a community vigil for Malcom Winffel, who shot and killed as he and another man came to the aid of a woman who police believe was being carjacked by Eulalio Sevilla Tordil in the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. Winffel’s two children attended Clarksburg High School. His daughter Norma was part of the senior class which graduated this morning.
Back in September, Clarksburg High School lost another member of its junior class when John DeReggi Jr. was struck and killed by an Amtrak train near the MARC Train Station in Boyds.
Top: Police are citing inexperience and speed as possible causes for the crash the killed three Clarksburg High School students. Police do not believe that alcohol was a factor.
Next: Clarksburg High School held its commencement exercises for the Class of 2016 today at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg. Photo courtesy MCPS.
Next: Montgomery County Police and Fire Rescue Service units on the scene at Burnt Hill Road in Clarksburg.
Next: The back of the pick-up truck where it came to rest on Burnt Hill Road.
Next: Members of the Montgomery County Police Collision Reconstruction Unit investigate the circumstances leading up to the fatal crash.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.