DERRY — Students and staff at Pinkerton Academy are mourning the death of junior Korey Traficante, who was killed, and a classmate injured in a car accident over the weekend.
Traficante, 17, of 158 Fordway Extension, died and the car's driver, Cameron Dearborn, 17, of 5 Frost Road, was hurt when the Saturn they were riding in struck a tree on Frost Road shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday, police said. The crash remains under investigation, Derry police Capt. Vern Thomas said.
Both are students at Pinkerton, where grief counseling was provided to students and staff members yesterday, according to school spokesman Robin Perrin.
He said it is difficult at the school whenever a student dies. Earlier this fall, a popular Pinkerton sophomore took his own life.
"Everyone at the school is a member of the Pinkerton community, and today we grieve for the loss of a family member, Korey," Perrin said.
Art teacher Sara White, who taught Traficante last year, said in a statement that he was a hard worker who was always willing to help others, knew want he wanted in life, and was not afraid to tackle new tasks.
"He was a very passionate student," she said. "When Korey completed something that he was proud of, his smile and energy could be felt by everyone, and it was always a reminder of why I became a teacher."
Family members could not be reached for comment last night and no one answered the door at their home. But neighbor Christine Calder said the 17-year-old was a close friend to at least three of her six children.
"He was a great kid," she said. "He was always polite to me."
Calder, who has known the family for several years, said he would come over to their house and play on the computer and ride dirt bikes in the backyard with her son Sean. He came from a good family, she said, adding that parents in the neighborhood used to hang out together.
Traficante, who lived in Salem before moving to Derry with his family 12 years ago, also enjoyed snowboarding and repairing cars, according to his obituary. He is survived by his parents, Kevin and Angela Traficante, and a brother, Kyle.
Calling hours are Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Peabody Funeral Homes and Crematorium in Derry. A funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the funeral home.
Dearborn was extricated from the smashed car by Derry rescue personnel and taken by ambulance to West Running Brook Middle School, where he was flown by medical helicopter to Beth Israel-Deaconess Hospital after complaining of a back injury, police said. His medical condition was not available last night.
A woman, who said she was his mother, answered the phone at the family's home but declined to comment.
"I really can't talk about it," she said, and started to cry.
At the crash scene yesterday afternoon, Jack Goterch was cleaning up his yard at 20 Frost Road after the car Dearborn was driving hit the tree in his front yard. A large piece of rubber from the car lay in the grass and the maple tree the vehicle struck was adorned with bouquets of flowers. There was also a lit candle and a kerosene lamp nearby.
Goterch said he was watching television Saturday night when he heard a loud noise outside.
"All I heard was a thump," he said. Goterch then ran out into the front yard.
"When I came out, the nose was up against the tree and leaning." he said. "Then, the car fell over on its passenger side."
He also heard Dearborn scream and watched in shock as he tried to climb out. Afraid the car was going to burst into flames, Goterch grabbed a hose.
"He was screaming, 'Get me out of here, get me out of here,"' Goterch said. "Then he was saying, 'I'm sorry, my friend is dead."'
Goterch pointed out a mark on the tree, about 10 feet off the ground, where the car hit the maple. Fresh skid marks were left on the newly paved road, and Goterch showed where the car drove into a ditch near his driveway and knocked his mailbox about 125 feet before hitting a stone wall.
The car then soared above another stone wall and scraped the top of a shrub before striking the tree about 30 feet away, he said.
An unidentified teenage girl stopped at his house hours after the accident and asked if he found her iPod. The girl said she had been at a party with the two boys and that Dearborn grabbed her car keys off the counter and left in her car without permission.
Goterch said a purse found in the car was seized by police as evidence and that he later found a charger in his bushes, but didn't know how to contact the girl to tell her what he found.
Asked if the driver faced any charges and if the teens had been at a party, Derry police said the investigation was continuing and they could not comment further. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 432-6111.
Earlier Saturday, the Pinkerton football team won the Division 1 state championship. Perrin said the two boys were not athletes at the school.
Two years ago, Dearborn's father, Robert Dearborn, was charged with endangerment after encouraging his son, who was 15 at the time, to fight with another boy at a bus stop, police said. A passerby took a video of the fight using a cellphone and posted it on YouTube.
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