Vigil planned for 15-year-old killed in Champaign Co. bike crash

The father of the teen who was killed in a bicycle-car crash in Champaign County says the accident has torn his world apart.

Bill Whitt said 15-year-old Lucas ‘Luke’ Whitt was the youngest of his eight children — and also his best buddy.

Whitt said Luke loved everything about the outdoors. Like a typical boy, he loved his X-box too — but he’d drop it in a second to head outside and see the world.

Whitt shared old pictures of his son with the Springfield News-Sun Monday, two days after Luke was killed in a collision with a bike. They show Luke mushroom hunting with a cast on his foot; he was unwilling to stay inside despite a broken ankle.

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“That boy’d help you with anything. He worked extremely hard at everything he did,” Whitt said. “There was nothing me and Luke didn’t do together — except I wish he would’ve told me. I would’ve taken him to the birthday party.”

Whitt said his son and his friends took off on their bicycles this weekend — without him knowing — to a birthday party.

According to Ohio State Highway Patrol Springfield Post Commander Lt. Brian Aller, the crash happened around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday evening.

Aller said Luke and another boy were riding their bicycles, heading west on Ohio 55 — but they were riding on the wrong side of the road and without headlights.

“As most fatal crashes, it’s kind of a perfect storm of events,” Aller said.

OSP says a Cadillac CTS, driven by Austyn Schneider, 19, of Urbana, attempted to pass another vehicle by crossing into the eastbound lane and struck the bicycle from behind.

Whitt was taken by CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital, where he later died.

Aller said investigators don’t believe alcohol, drugs or speed were factors in the crash. He said it’s not clear whether anyone will be charged in the crash, but OSP should have more information this week.

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Crash data released by the Ohio Department of Transportation shows that since 2016, there have been 11 car accidents (including the crash that killed Whitt) within half of a mile in each direction of the intersection of 235 and 55.

Most recently, there were four crashes last year.

The only fatality has been Whitt’s crash last weekend.

The teen had just finished freshman year at Graham High School.

Bill Whitt said his son had ambitions of going to Springfield-Clark CTC and eventually become a diesel technician.

The school district released a statement that reads in part, ‘Please keep all of the families involved in this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.’

Grief counselors were on hand on Monday for staff or students.

Bill Whitt said there will be a vigil at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the high school. Anyone who knew his son is welcome to attend.

CRASHES NEAR Ohio 235 AND Ohio 55

3 — accidents in 2016

2 — accidents in 2017

4 — accidents in 2018

1 — accidents in 2019 (excluding latest crash)

0 — fatalities in that time period (excluding latest crash)

*provided by the Ohio Department of Transportation

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