A Pennsylvania teenager took his own life after he fled a car crash that killed his longtime football teammate and close pal last weekend.
Three friends — Tyler Zook, 17; Tyreese Smith, 16; and Amalie Wendt, 18 — were riding in a Hyundai Santa Fe when it veered off the road and crashed into a field in East Lampeter Township just after midnight Saturday morning, according to Lancaster Online.
Smith suffered traumatic injuries and died of asphyxiation and Wendt was hospitalized after the car rolled several times and landed on its side, according to the outlet.
Zook took his own life a mile away from the scene and was found dead by police about an hour and a half after the deadly crash.
The car wreck was determined to be caused by excessive speed. Police did not release the nature of Zook’s self-inflicted death or announce who was driving the car, according to the report.
“Tyler enjoyed spending time with his teammates both on and off the field. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, spending time with family, and being at the beach,” his obituary read. “Tyler was preceded in death by his best friend, Tyreese Smith, of Lancaster.”
Zook and Smith had played football together for ten years and were getting ready for the fall season at Conestoga Valley Senior High School in Lancaster, where Zook had just finished his junior year and Smith was an outgoing sophomore.
The friends also both worked as cooks at a Sonic Drive-In and had been on the clock at the burger joint Friday night before the crash, a mourning classmate said.
Classmates flocked to a makeshift memorial near their high school which featured a cross made out of planks of wood in the school’s red and blue team colors, flowers, balloons and pictures.
“They’re hysterical,” Patience Conner said of the pair as she held a vigil Monday afternoon, according to the outlet.
“They could make anyone laugh,” she told the website, adding the pals “couldn’t do one thing without the other.”
“[Tyreese] was very funny,” friend Karyssa Rosa reportedly said through tears at the memorial site.
“He was a really good people person. He liked to talk to everyone and he was always there for everybody. And he was just a good person all around. He was always trying to help other people.”
Conner and Rosa said they had hung out with Zook and Smith since they were in middle school, often watching them play video games or basketball.
“[Tyreese] was always good at advice – anything you needed, he was there,” Conner said. “You could ask him anything, whether he was down or not, and he would help you no matter what.”
Wendt, the third teen involved in the crash, had been released from the hospital after reportedly being treated for serious injuries.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.