Wilmington High School sophomore Shane McQuiston, who was killed in a traffic accident Jan. 5, 2013, was remembered by classmates during a basketball game the next night, Jan. 6.
By MATTHEW PEASLEE
NEW WILMINGTON, PA.
Brady Lutz will walk into third period on Monday and his best friend won’t be in his assigned seat. Emily Mortimer will be standing outside her Wilmington High School classroom expecting a wave, “hello” and “how are you” that won’t come.
And the Lawrence County band All-Star recognition service on Tuesday will be missing one of its finest trumpet players.
Shane McQuiston, a 15-year-old sophomore, was a passenger in a red Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Ethan Seeber, a 17-year-old senior on Friday night coming home from the Wilmington girls basketball game.
Seeber, of Conestoga Trail, was driving north on South Valley View Road near state Route 208 at 9:30 p.m. when the vehicle went left of center, off the roadway, over an embankment and rolled onto its roof, landing in Deer Creek in Pulaski Township, police said.
Lutz, a junior, saw the truck laying in a creek.
“My girlfriend, Alexa, and I were driving back from ice skating and I recognized the truck,” he said. “We drove by Ethan’s house, which was real close, and the truck wasn’t in the driveway. We got real worried and started to piece it all together.”
Seeber and McQuiston, of Garner Road, were taken to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown. Pulaski police couldn’t confirm late Saturday if McQuiston died at the scene, on route to the hospital or at the health center. Seeber was in stable condition at the hospital late Saturday.
The Greyhounds boys basketball game on Saturday night served as a healing center for grieving students, faculty and community members.
“I was kind of skeptical if we were still going to play or not,” said Hunter Taylor, a senior on the team, “but I was ready to go either way. It’s good that we are playing because it’s all for Shane. It’s nice having it on the weekend just so we can all get together beforehand. Once Monday comes, I know it’s going to be rough walking through the halls knowing that we’re one classmate and one great friend down.”
Many kids and faculty found out news of the accident through social media sites.
“I wanted to ignore that my daughters were saying it was on Twitter,” eighth-grade teacher Sally Hiers said. “I didn’t want to believe it.”
Superintendent Dr. Joyce Nicksick added, “The students initiated the Facebook conversation about showing up and wearing white. We have wonderful children here and I expected no less. That comes from being raised in supportive households.”
Wilmington cheerleaders painted “Do a cheer” on their white shirts, McQuiston’s catchphrase that he would yell out to them during sporting events.
“Shane was determined,” said Wilmington golf coach James Canciello. “He improved from his freshman to sophomore year. He was one of my top guys. He was the type to never give up.”
The school’s band director, Jonathon Nickel, delivered McQuiston’s trumpet and band jacket to his mother, Dana, early Saturday. Members of the family were in attendance at the game in the overflowing gymnasium. Principal Ben Fennick addressed the crowd before pregame introductions and held a moment of silence.
This is the second Wilmington Area High School student to die in a car accident in the last two months. Brandon William Beahr, an 18-year-old senior, died Nov. 4 while driving on state Route 18 in Shenango Township. Beahr, of West Neshannock Avenue in New Wilmington, lost control of his car, which went off the side of the road, hit a utility pole and two trees, and flipped onto its roof.
CONTRIBUTOR: Vindicator reporter David Skolnick