Police have identified the driver of a car crash Saturday night that claimed the life of Hamilton High School football standout Ben Flick, a football student-athlete at the University of Cincinnati.
The preliminary investigation indicates Sean Van Dyne, age 18, of Hamilton, was driving the 2009 Chevrolet and that Flick was the front seat passenger, according to Butler County Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Craft.
Van Dyne and Flick were ejected from the car that was traveling west on Stahlheber Road at Morman Road when it went off the road, accoridng to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.
Mark Barr, 18, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Javon Harrison, 18, of Huber Heights, both wide receivers at UC, were transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center by helicopter along with VanDyne, according to a press release from UC and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. Barr and VanDyne are in critical condition. Harrison is in stable condition, according to hospital officials.
VanDyne is a May graduate of HHS and student at Miami University.
The three athletes, all true freshmen, had attended the Bearcats’ game at Miami University in Oxford earlier Saturday, but due to redshirting this season, did not dress or travel with the team.
Todd Grimm, athletic director for Hamilton City Schools, said a student-led vigil was held Sunday evening at the high school. He said a more formal memorial is being planned for mid-week.
“It was an unfortunate incident that occurred,” Grimm said. “I didn’t have the fortune to know either student but it’s heartbreaking when a young person loses their life in a tragic way. It’s a life-learning lesson for our kids currently in high school.”
Grimm said counselors will be at the school this week to help students coping with the loss.
According to preliminary investigation by the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, the 2009 Chevrolet was traveling west on Stahlheber Road at Morman Road when it went off the road flipped and came to rest on its top in the front yard of residence. Van Dyne and Flick were ejected and two were trapped, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.
The accident remains under investigation, but it is believed that alcohol may have been a factor.
“I can’t put into words how tragic this is,” Head Coach Tommy Tuberville said. “As a father and a coach, it’s something you hope you never have to go through. Ben was so proud to be a part of this team and university. He worked hard and had shown a great deal of improvement since the summer. His future was bright. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Flick family on their loss. We also hope and pray for Mark and Javon to recover from their injuries.”
Mike Dole, an assistant coach at Hamilton High School who coached Flick in football and track, said he was a “great kid.”
Flick was highly recruited last year, but was excited to play close to home and quickly accepted a full-scholarship from UC.
Dole said at the Hamilton-Lakota West game Friday night he asked a UC coach in attendance how Flick was doing.
“He he was really adjusting to college life and working hard,” Dole said. “They expected great things from him.”
Word of Flick’s death travelled quickly fueled by social media and by Sunday afternoon, students gathered outside Hamilton High School to console each other.
Candles outlined Flick’s number 77 in front of the high school athletic center.
Preston McIntosh, a wide receiver at Hamilton, said he learned of Flick’s death via Twitter.
“I hate that I heard it like that,” he said. “It’s different when it isn’t someone you know … it is just hard to believe.”
McIntosh said Flick was a positive person who helped him when he felt like he didn’t want to practice or play.
Joey Hudson, a Hamilton linebacker, said, “It is a wake up call for all of us.”
While Flick played hard on the field, Maurice Chapman, who played football, track and basketball with him, said Flick also had a “goofy side.”
“He liked to smile and laugh and have fun,” Chapman said.
Whit Babcock, director of athletics at UC, offered support to the families and the Bearcats football team.
“The Bearcats family has suffered a great tragedy,” Babcock said. “All three young men are great representatives of the university and their team. Our hearts go out to all the families involved. We are doing all we can to help and support them along with the rest of our student-athletes.”