SHARON, Pa. - A Brookfield man and two Sharon high school football players were killed in a head-on crash on Connelly Boulevard in Sharon just after 10 p.m. Friday. Others were seriously injured.
Sharon High School player Corey Swartz, 18, was driving with three teammates in a silver Mazda SUV that crossed the median and struck a black Chevy Silverado pickup truck head-on, according to Sharon police Chief Michael J. Menster.
Swartz, 18, and Evan Gill, 17, died in the crash, while twin brothers Greg and Craig Osmon were injured. The students were returning from watching a playoff game at Hickory High School.
Rescue crews from four departments respond to a two-vehicle crash along the Shenango Valley Freeway on Friday in Sharon, Pa. Two Sharon High School football players died in the crash that also killed a third person at about 10 p.m.
The driver of the pickup, John Zdelar Jr. of Brookfield, 50, was taken to Sharon Regional Health System, where he was pronounced dead at 10:50 p.m. Friday. His two passengers, Evan Wallace, 10, and Blake Yenderak, 12, were taken to the hospital. Yenderak was released Saturday morning.
The Sharon vs. Girard (Pa.) high schools playoff football game originally scheduled for Saturday was postponed until 7 p.m. Monday at Erie Veterans Stadium.
The Sharon City School District's acting superintendent, Michael Calla, told The Associated Press that speed may have been a factor. Sharon police said that investigators do not suspect that alcohol, drugs or texting were a factor in the crash.
"They feel that speed was probably a factor and the car that Corey was driving, he lost control and he may have overcompensated and ended up in the lane with the other vehicle," Calla said.
Three helicopters transported victims to area hospitals. Multiple police and fire agencies were on the scene, including Brookfield, Greenville, Pa., and Sharon, Pa.
Calla said the players were senior leaders on the team and in the school, which has about 860 students in grades 7-12.
"It'll be a loss felt for a long, long time in Sharon," he said.
Swartz's sister, Amber, told Tribune Chronicle news partner WYTV 33 News that she and her family are trying to come to terms with Swartz's death.
"I feel like this is a nightmare I can't wake up from. I know I won't ever be the same. I know my family won't ever be the same," Swartz said. "It feels like a part of me is missing."
Former Tigers football player and friend Tyler Porterfield told 33 News that his fellow classmates and the Sharon community as a whole are reeling from the tragic news.
"After all the deaths that's been happening in this community, it's just devastating," Porterfield said. "This community honestly isn't going to know what to do with itself, it's really not."
Sharon Tigers football coach Jim Wildman said the horrific accident is a tragic reminder that life is precious.
"I think it will be a motivation for the remaining seniors to understand that life is never fair, take advantage of each day. It's not fair today, but there is always tomorrow," Wildman said.
Grief counselors will be stationed at Sharon High School on Saturday for students who would like to meet with them.