A 16-year-old Greenon High School student was killed Sunday in a car crash in Enon — the third student in the district to die in a fatal accident this school year.
Kendal “Kenny” DePhillip, a junior, died while a passenger in a car that crashed shortly before 4:30 p.m. Sunday on Fowler Road between Rebert Pike and Broadway Road in Clark County.
The district is taking the death of another student hard, Greenon Superintendent Brad Silvus said.
“Everyone is in shock as expected,” Silvus said. “We are trying to address it as best we can with students, the staff and with the community. The word I have heard a lot is devastation.”
A 1997 Chevrolet Lumina driven by Andrew Scott, 16 and also a Greenon High School student, went off the right side of the road Sunday, clipped a telephone pole and then hit another pole, Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers said. Scott sustained non-life threatening injuries, troopers said.
“Driver inattention, lack of familiarity with the roadway and speed all are being considered as factors,” state patrol Sgt. Richard Dixon said.
Drugs or alcohol don’t appear to be factors in the crash, highway patrol Sgt. Shane Meddock said on Monday.
“Both occupants wore seat belts,” he said. “The roadway was dry. Speed is something we’ll have to calculate and reconstruct.”
Neighbors who were close to the crash ran to the aide of the teens but said there was nothing they could do.
“I heard just a real loud noise and looked out the window and I saw a tire rolling down the street,” Mike Brooks said.
He said he spoke with the driver who told him that DePhillip was in the passenger seat. He said it was clear DePhillip was seriously hurt.
“Just knew it was bad,” he said.
DePhillip was remembered by friends Monday as someone they could count on.
“He was a very caring person,” neighbor Anna Allison said. “He always made people smile and laugh when he needed to.”
Classmate Emily Pogue also described DePhillip as a happy person.
“He was just a really kind-hearted person … His smile and laugh would make everyone smile,” she said. “It was contagious.”
That’s the type of stories the Greenon superintendent said he has heard about DePhillip, too.
“When I was talking to the kids, you could tell all the positive that Kenny had in his life,” Silvus said. “He was a very energetic young man.”
DePhillip was a member of the Greenon marching band and was on the swim team.
His death follows a crash in August that killed David Waag and Connor Williams, both Greenon students. The boys were honored by the community numerous times including with vigils, a public funeral and a program before a football game.
NASCAR also honored the boys with a decal on one of the race cars.
Greenon was just starting to get back to a sense of normalcy following the tragic deaths of Williams and Waag, Silvus said, and now will mourn again.
“We are doing the best we can,” Silvus said. “Right now our main goal is to get kids talking and express their emotions. Make sure they are taking care of themselves and being here to support them.”
The area near where the boys crashed is one of the more dangerous rural areas in Clark County, according to the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee data.
The ranking takes into account crash frequency and severity of the crashes to measure how hazardous the area is. Rebert Pike close to Fowler Road was ranked 29th most dangerous between 2014 through 2016, according to a report. The study didn’t measure Fowler Road.
People need to slow down when in the area, neighbor Brooks said.
“It’s unbelievable how fast cars go down this road here … This road should be 35 at maximum because of the curves and the hills,” he said.
Greenon Local Schools closed Monday due to the tragedy. Counselors were available to students. About 25 students took advantage of them, Silvus said.
A candlelight vigil is planned for DePhillip at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the high school. Community members and students mourned the death of the teen.
Stacy Arnett, a parent in the district, said his daughter has had a tough time grasping the loss.
“Terrible. She is not ready to eat,” Arnett said. “She is not ready to do anything. She knows she’s going to have to go back to school and it’s incredibly awful.”
Funeral arrangements for DePhillip haven’t been announced and his family declined to comment on Monday.
By the numbers
3: Clark County teens killed in car accidents since the start of the school year
2: Months since the last crash killed two Greenon boys
29th: Ranking for the area near Rebert Pike and Fowler Road for dangerous rural roads in Clark County between 2014 and 2016 by the Transportation Coordination Committee.
The Springfield New-Sun digs into important public safety stories, including recent coverage of how healthy schools are and the most dangerous intersections in Clark County.