Falmouth High School Vigil
A makeshift memorial was created at the site of a crash in Falmouth Thursday night that killed James Lavin and Owen Higgins, both 17 and from East Falmouth.
Falmouth Police Chief Ed Dunne said Lavin was the driver of the vehicle and was killed when his car went off Thomas B. Landers Road around 6:40 p.m. and crashed into a tree near Geggatt Road.
Higgins, a passenger in the vehicle, was extricated from the car and medflighted to a Rhode Island trauma center. He died late Friday afternoon at Hasbro Children’s Hospital with his family by his side.
At the crash site, pictures of Lavin in his high school football uniform, notes and sports medals were mixed in with flowers left by a steady stream of young students. Many huddled and cried together as they remembered their lost classmates.
“Everyone is just devastated that this happened,” said student Charlie Peters, who stopped by the growing memorial.
Andrew Baxter, a fellow Falmouth High School student, had seen Higgins in the school parking lot just hours before the crash.
“I think it’s a terrible tragedy, I feel very bad for friends and family. It’s just awful. Words can’t explain,” said Baxter.
Both students in the crash were members of the Falmouth High School football and hockey teams, and were described as best friends who were, “connected at the hip,” according to Hockey Coach Paul Moore.
At the high school, hundreds of students gathered on the same football field were Lavin and Higgins played. Just weeks ago, their football team celebrated a high school Division 2A Super Bowl Championship at Gillette Stadium, a stark contrast to the grief that poured from students as they wept and hugged on the field Friday.
Coach Moore called it an”emotional day,” and promised that the team and administration would stand behind the school community.
“It’s just two remarkable young men who put their footprint on this community, not just in the classroom and not just in the ice arena, and not just on the football field. These are two extraordinary kids with a lot of heart, a lot of character, and guys I was proud to coach,” said Moore.
Higgins was recently voted in as a captain of the hockey team, and Moore called Lavin the team’s emotional leader.
“When they say they take the good young, these were two good ones,” Moore said.
Both students had the respect of their fellow students on and off the field, according to their coaches.
Moore said their hockey practice ended at 6:10 Thursday night, and he was notified of crash a short time later at 6:40 p.m.
“My heart goes out to their families, this is a tough day for everybody, but more importantly I’m thinking about their families right now,” said Falmouth High School Football Coach Derek Almeida.
“They did so much more for me than I could ever do for them,” he said.
Falmouth High School is out of session for the Christmas holiday, but Superintendent Nancy Taylor said accommodations would be made for members of the school community who were in need.
“This community has come together because we lost one of our students, and we have another student who is critically injured,” said Taylor.
Chief Dunne said his department the State Police Accident Reconstruction Team are working on the investigation and did not yet have a cause.
A number of local high schools offered condolences on social media.
“Prayers go out to the Falmouth hockeyteam, our thoughts are with you, and the whole town of Falmouth,” said the Bourne hockey program on Twitter.
“Thoughts and prayers out to Falmouth hockey and Falmouth High School,” officials with Mashpee high school tweeted.
“Thoughts and Prayers go out to the Falmouth Athletic Program and the Falmouth High School Community,” the Carver High School athletic program account tweeted.
By Adam Forziati, Matt McCarthy, Justin Saunders and Matt Pitta, CapeCod.com NewsCenter