Kent Island Community Mourns Loss of 4 Teens at Vigil - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Kent Island Community Mourns Loss of 4 Teens at Vigil

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A vigil was held Thursday night at Kent Island High School for four teens killed in a Wednesday head-on crash in Chester. (Photo: WBOC) A vigil was held Thursday night at Kent Island High School for four teens killed in a Wednesday head-on crash in Chester. (Photo: WBOC)

KENT ISLAND, Md.- Community members are mourning the loss of four teenagers in Queen Anne's County after a deadly head-on car crash.

Hundreds of people turned out for the vigil at Kent Island High School Thursday night.

The teenagers who died were identified as Cory Passagno, 18; Michael John Ringenbach, 19; Harrison Rhodes Smith, 18; and Tyler Elzey, 19. All of the teenagers were from Kent Island.

Elzey was a volunteer firefighter with the same company that responded to the call.

The accident happened at around 4 p.m. Wednesday on Cox Neck Road near Jones Road, according to police.

On Thursday night, family and friends of the young men came together to remember the lives lost in the tragic accident.

Katie Debries said, "I feel like I just saw them yesterday. I just saw them before it happened, so it makes it so unreal."

Debries and her friends worked with three of the young men who were killed. They say everyone on Kent Island is in disbelief.

"We went down to the crash site earlier and it was just lines of cars everywhere and it was people, just kids, sitting down in the ditch, just sitting there and looking," adds Jessica Jackubik.

Thursday's vigil was a small attempt to help heal this fresh wound for everyone.

John Schrecongost, the Kent island High School Principal says, "It was a very difficult day for us all, especially at school. I think tonight is a much needed opportunity for our students, for our recent graduates, our staff and all of our families to get together and come together and really begin the much needed and very lengthy process of healing."

The large turnout at the vigil was a comfort for many.

"Everybody cares about these guys and just how many people are showing up for this... it's huge. I'm keeping everyone in my prayers, family members and friends and everybody, trying to support one another for them. That's what they would have wanted," says Emily Leslie.

Counselors and psychologists were on hand at Kent Island High School for students who needed help during this difficult time.

Investigators said all four victims who died were riding in a Volkswagen four-door sedan.

The driver of the second vehicle, which was a Ford Focus, was identified as 73-year-old Eli Dabich Jr. of Chester.

He was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he is listed in serious condition.

Police said he is a professor at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Police said a preliminary investigation indicates the Volkswagen's speed appears to have been a factor in the crash.
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