Crash Kills Three Teens

By Al Pefley   email

Stuart, FL (WFLX)

A speeding SUV with three teenagers inside crashes into a piece of construction equipment.

All three teens at one time attended the same high school and  investigators want to know did alcohol play a role? The crash happened on Southeast Cove Road just west of Federal Highway in Stuart at about three in the morning.

State troopers say a Jeep Grand Cherokee carrying three teens struck a front-end loader that was stopped in the road in an area where road construction was underway.

The Cherokee hit the rear tire of the front-end loader  and flipped.

FHP says the driver was speeding and troopers are investigating whether alcohol was a factor.

A makeshift memorial has been set up at the crash site on Cove Road.   Lots of young people as well as adults have been coming by to place flowers and other things here.  It's a very difficult time for those who knew these three teens.

Some came one at a time, people like Donna Schroeder of Stuart, who stopped by with a bouquet of flowers to leave at a makeshift memorial.  She said that she is a close friend of the mother of one of the victims.

"It's horrible, it's horrible. I can't even put it into words right now. I'm sorry," Schroeder said.

Others brought flowers too, but were too upset to talk.

Another young woman stopped briefly to  write a message on a poster, in honor of the teens.

"It's just really sad you know because they're so young and they're your classmates. You don't think that that would happen to them and everything. But I mean it's just really sad and heartbreaking," said Tennessley Harris, who went to school with the victims.

Throughout the day people came to pay their respects and remember the three teenage boys whose lives ended in an early morning crash on Cove Road near U.S. 1 when their Jeep Grand Cherokee hit a front-end loader.

The victims are identified as 18 year old Nicholas Coady of Stuart, who was the driver, along with two passengers, 18 year old Christopher Briglio of Tequesta and 16 year old Connor Graver of Hobe Sound.

"I couldn't even believe it that they're gone. How would you describe them? I thought they were the coolest kids I ever met," said John Uzar, another friend of the teens.

All three teens attended Southfork High school. Graver would've been a high school senior this fall, while Coady and Briglio just graduated from Southfork a few weeks ago and were enrolled at Indian River Community College.

"It hurts, I mean you never think it'll happen to anybody that you know and then it does. We all think we're bullet-proof, but we're not,"  said Justin White, another teen who visited the site of the accident.

The fact that troopers say they're investigating whether alcohol was a factor in the deadly accident is having an impact on some of the teens' friends.

"You gotta be safe all the time, watch what you're doing," said James Young, a teen who knew the victims.

The operator of the front-end loader, identified as 25 year old Pedro Perez-Espinosa of Okeechobee, was not hurt.