SHARON, Pa. (TheBlaze/AP) — Two high school football players died in a car crash Friday night — a day before a Pennsylvania state playoff game — which also killed a third person and injured four others, authorities said.
Sharon City School District Superintendent Mike Calla told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that senior players Corey Swartz and Evan Gill were killed in the two-vehicle head-on collision on the Shenango Valley Freeway at about 10 p.m. in Sharon, which is about 50 miles northwest of Pittsburgh along the Ohio state line.
Calla said football players had a very emotional meeting Saturday morning at the high school stadium with their coach and local pastors, one of whom told them it was okay to grieve.
“He gave them permission to be emotional, and I think that's something they needed to hear,” Calla told the Tribune-Review.
Calla said two other football players, twins Greg and Craig Osmon, were injured and being treated at a hospital in Youngstown, Ohio.
The Sharon Herald added that two children, ages 10 and 12, riding in the back of a pickup truck were injured. One was flown to a burn unit and the other was hospitalized. The driver — who emergency crews said suffered “traumatic cardiac arrest," the Herald reported — died.
A woman at the scene said her son was driving the other vehicle and was coming home from a football playoff game at Hickory High School, the Herald reported. When police spoke to the woman at the scene, she collapsed onto the road sobbing, the Herald added.
According to Sharon Police, Swartz crossed the median strip and collided head-on with the pick-up truck, the Tribune-Review reported, adding that a preliminary review indicates that neither alcohol, drugs, nor texting were factors in the crash.
“They feel that speed was probably a factor and the car that Corey was driving, he lost control and he may have overcompensated and ended up in the lane with the other vehicle,” Calla told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The playoff game scheduled for Saturday in Erie between Sharon High and Girard High School was postponed by the state athletic association. It will be played on Monday night.
Phone messages left Saturday by The Associated Press for Sharon's police department and the school district were not immediately returned. The Mercer County coroner's office said it may release some information about the crash later Saturday.
This post has been updated.