Greenon students killed in crash to be honored by NASCAR team

A NASCAR team will honor two local boys who were killed in a car crash Sunday.

Joey Gase’s number 52 NASCAR Xfinity Series car will sport a Greenon decal that will also feature the pictures of David Waag and Connor Williams. Waag and Williams were killed when a black 2005 Toyota Corolla they were in the back seat of went off the right side of Wilkerson Road between Fairborn and Yellow Springs, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said in a statement. The two boys were not wearing seat belts at the time, the state patrol said.

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Two people did survive the crash. The driver, Trey Blevins, 18 and the front seat passenger, Zach Knauer, 17, were wearing seat belts and taken to Soin Medical Center. Officials there declined to give their condition Wednesday citing privacy laws.

Mark Sanders is the fuel man and the team engineer for the 52 Jimmy Means Xfinity Camero.

“Shortly after the tragedy someone had created a “Prayers for Greenon” logo with the Greenon Knights G and also somebody had posted pictures of the young men,” Sanders said. “Being a Greenon alumni, I graduated in 1979, it really shook me that two young lives were extinguished so quickly and so young.”

He said he wanted to honor the boys who grew up in the same place he did.

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“Being from that area and growing up in that area, my sister is familiar with Connor’s mom I believe, it just seemed like the right thing to do,” Sanders said. “Pay tribute to them in a very small way. I think the response has been rather overwhelming.”

The decals will also be for sale through the Greenon alumni group, Sanders said. The money raised will go to the families of Waag and Williams to help offset costs they might acquire because of this tragedy.

Sanders doesn’t know exactly where the decal will be on the car yet. He said it will likely either be behind the driver’s door or on the back of the roof.

People have taken to social media to thank Sanders for putting the decal on the car. He has been flooded with messages of appreciation from the community.

“I want to thank you so much for this act of kindness for the families of the boys who were killed in this car crash,” Forrest Henslee posted on his Facebook page. “All of my grandchildren attend the Greenon school district. What you are doing is so awesome. My family and all the other Greenon district families thank you.”

He said owner Jimmy Means also deserves credit for allowing him to put the decal on the car. Right now the decal will likely be on the car for this weekend’s race and next weekend’s. He said if there is space he’ll try to keep it on the car for the rest of the racing season.

“Once a Knight, always a Knight,” he said. “You establish friendships and bonds.”

This is not the first time Sanders has paid tribute to a local death. His team put a decal on their car when Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Suzanne Hopper was killed during a gun fight in Enon.

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