01/23/07 — High school mourns loss of two teens

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High school mourns loss of two teens

By Lee Williams
Published in News on January 23, 2007 1:52 PM

KENLY -- Colorful posters, flowers and other mementos mark the spot where tragedy struck Sunday claiming the life of two North Johnston High School students and injured another classmate in a head-on collision.

Both drivers, Nicholas Ryan Creech, 16, of Selma, and Reece Leighton Richardson, 17, of Kenly, were killed in the two-vehicle crash.

Creech's passenger, Travis Foster, was severely injured.

Foster remains at WakeMed in Raleigh. His condition was upgraded from critical to fair, a hospital spokeswoman said today.

Creech was traveling south on Johnston Parkway Road, a service road, and Richardson was traveling south, when the vehicles collided about 7:35 p.m. Both drivers were in pickup trucks.

Questions remain about the cause of the accident.

First Sgt. S.D. Greene, a highway patrol spokesman, said the incident is still under investigation, and could not confirm or refute reports that the two were playing chicken.

"We have no information about whether they were playing chicken," Greene said. "The collision is being investigated by a local trooper and a reconstruction team is going to try to reconstruct the events that took place to try to answer any questions the public or family may have before the impact took place."

The reconstruction team will try to reconstruct what happened before, during and after the collision, Greene added.

Creech and Richardson were close friends.

"They did know each other, and they were friends," said Crystal Roberts, spokeswoman for Johnston County Schools. "There was a relationship there. They basically grew up together."

Grief counselors will be on hand when students return to school today. Mrs. Roberts said the tragedy has devastated both students and teachers.

"The crisis team will stay as long as they need to, to help students and staff through this horrific situation," Mrs. Roberts said. "These were students who were very much a part of the community. They will sorely be missed. This has created a void. These were very good boys."

Mrs. Roberts said the school principal, Ross Renfrow, has visited the families twice to help them through the ordeal.