Four Connecticut students are dead and one was seriously injured when a car crashed into a tree just a few miles from their high school on Tuesday afternoon.
Everyone in the car was 15 or 16 years old and the driver, John Clapper, 16, had only a learner's permit. He obtained it in August and would not legally have been able to drive a car full of teenagers, officials from the Department of Motor Vehicles said.
Clapper lost control of the car and struck a tree on Route 201, near Route 138, in Griswold, around 4:30 p.m., police said.
Sativa Cornell, 16, Steven Skzlarz, 15, Dillon Clifford, 16, and Clapper were killed in the crash.
Joel Gallup, 16, is hospitalized with incapacitating injuries. Clifford would have turned 17 on Friday.
Clapper was driving a car registered to Sativa's mother, officials said. Sativa received her license in October and also would not have been allowed to drive the group either.
According to Sativa's MySpace page, she was dating Clapper and he was the love of her life.
The deaths are a tragedy for Griswold High School and many have been posting messages of condolence on a Facebook page set up to remember the teens.
Tonight, people who knew the students will gather for a vigil at 6:30 p.m. at the gazebo on Ashland Street in Jewett City.
Police continue to investigate.
"They’re going to look at all aspects of the road, the weather, the conditions," Trooper Kelly Grant, of State Police said. "They’re doing a very thorough investigation."
School administrators were preparing to have grief counselors available to talk with classmates as students arrive for classes Wednesday, according to Griswold School Superintendent Dr. Paul Freeman.