(BOONE CO.) - Investigators say a car that struck a tree Sunday morning, killing one current and one former student at Western Boone High School, was traveling at 65 mph just before the crash.
The Boone County coroner determined that Jacob Shockley and Richard Penny, Jr. both died from blunt force trauma. Both men, who were 18 years old, were wearing their seat belts. Toxicology results will take at least three weeks.
The Boone County Sheriff's Department says excessive speed was a factor. The blue 1993 Honda Civic, driven by Shockley, was going 65 mph in a 40 mph zone.
Chaplains and counselors were on hand Monday morning to help students and teachers at Western Boone High School.
Shockley, who was from Advance, was driving on County Road 800 North when he left the road and hit a tree head-on. Also in the car was 18-year-old Richard Penny, Jr. of Lebanon.
"He called me [Saturday] night to wish me a happy birthday," said Zachary Thomas, Shockley's cousin. "I told him, 'Drive safe. Be careful'."
Residents in the area said they heard what sounded like a crash around 1:00 a.m. When they went outside to check, they couldn't see the car in the dark, rural area. No one found the car until a man came across it around 7:30 when he walked outside to get his morning paper.
Both teens were still inside the car when emergency personnel found them. Medics declared both teens dead at the scene.
"Just hard to know that I lost him," said Thomas. "He's my family."
Thomas said that Shockley liked working on cars. Authorities say that Sunday, Shockley was driving his car too fast.
"You can look at the extensive damage to this car and you can see how far back the crush damage is and how far back the car ended up after the impact and so on," explained Boone County Sheriff Ken Campbell. "That took a lot of energy for that to happen and energy is speed."
Further investigation will also confirm whether or not alcohol or drugs were a factor.
"We've got to try to learn from the mistakes these young men made," said Sheriff Campbell. "Educate the public in general so maybe this can impact them in a positive way and maybe they will slow down, maybe they will pay more attention when they're driving and we can keep another one of these crashes from happening."
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