Stoughton School Supt. on Accident That Killed 4 Teens: ‘The Worst Nightmare'

What to Know

  • Five male teens were traveling in one car Saturday in East Bridgewater when they struck a tree on West Street, killing 4 of the 5 occupants.
  • Four crash victims identified as Stoughton High School students: Christopher Desir, 17; Eric Sarblah, 17; David Bell, 17; Chris Joyce, 16.
  • 17-year-old driver, who has not been identified, is recovering from his injuries at Boston Medical Center.

A vigil was held Sunday night inside Grace Church in Avon for the four Stoughton High School students who were killed in a single car crash in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts on Saturday.

Their families are still trying to come to grips with their sudden deaths.

David Bell's family says he was on top of the world when he was killed Saturday. The 17-year-old was a member of the school's track team and had recently set his personal record in the high jump.

"He was my son. He was my heart,” David’s mom Solange Bell said. “In school, what you saw in school is what you saw at home.

"I miss him a lot already," David's sister Sierra Bell said through tears.

Sierra said she would do anything to have one more moment with the high school senior and triple threat athlete who played football, basketball and track.

His family says he was the life of the party, and his dad says he lost his everything when his son died.

"That was my son, my brother, he was everything to me,” David’s father David Bell said. “And the way he carried himself, he was a hard worker.”

David Bell was leaving a party with four friends from school Saturday when the car they were traveling in crashed into a tree on West Street.

East Bridgewater police and fire responded to the crash at 558 West St. (Route 106) around 4:06 p.m. Saturday after receiving 911 calls.

Following the crash, David Bell was transported to Brockton Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Three of the other occupants in the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene. Those victims were identified as Christopher Desir, 17, of Brockton, Eric Sarblah, 17, of Stoughton, and Nick Joyce, 16, of Stoughton.

Desir and Sarblah were both juniors. Joyce was a sophomore and played football with David Bell.

Joyce's brother is remembering him as a star athlete with a bright future in graphic design.

"He was a creator. He loved shoes man. He used to just draw shoes. He liked to design stuff," Rich Joyce said.

"He touched a lot of people in such a short amount of time. He's sorely, sorely going to be missed," Nick Joyce’s uncle Mark walker said.

Eric Sarblah was also in the car. The five of them were coming back from his birthday party.

On Sunday, there was an outpouring of hugs and flowers on the Sarblah's family's doorstep. Sarblah's mother and father had their hearts torn to pieces when they lost their child Saturday.

Sarblah’s uncle, Columbus Okai, spoke about him, saying, “Eric was a very kind person, disciplined, and he will be missed.”

Desir was also killed in the crash, but his family wants to hold off on commenting about his life. His mom says she is not ready to talk about her son.

The only teen who survived the crash was the 17-year-old driver of the vehicle. Witnesses say he was able to walk away from the crash. He was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton before being transported to Boston Medical Center where he is recovering from his injuries. He is not being identified at this time.

David Bell's mother Solange is praying for the driver as she hurts for her son and the other three boys who were killed. She says her only solace in all the sadness is knowing that her son didn't die alone.

"All the other kids, Nick, Eric, and Chris, I am so glad that he didn't go alone, he didn’t go alone. I just hope that they're together and just holding hands and getting a courtside seat to all of this."

As the victims’ families deal with such tremendous loss, the Stoughton community is grieving along with them as they try to figure out how life will go on.

Both Joyce and David Bell were members of the track team, and the track team did participate in a scheduled meet on Sunday.

Other students gathered at Stoughton High School Sunday night where officials are doing what they can to console students mourning the loss of their four classmates.

Superintendent Maggie Rizzi announced in a Sunday press conference that the high school would be open from noon to 8 p.m. to assist students and members of the community who need counselling.

She said all of the district’s counselling staff will be made available to students for as long as necessary in the days, weeks and months ahead.

"We will be opening school tomorrow. I do not anticipate we will have a normal day, but it is important for students to have their routines if they want and need them. To know that we are going to available to them insofar as they're going to be able to go through a regular day we are going to provide that. Insofar as they can’t, we will provide other resources for them," Rizzi said in a morning press conference.

Rizzi called the crash "the worst nightmare of any school administrator.''

"This is a devastating occasion for any community, any school," she said.

Rizzi said while Stoughton has suffered tragedies in the past, there is a long road ahead in this healing process.

“This is not the kind of thing you can heal from quickly. The recovery period is long."

The crash remains under investigation. Investigators said they are looking into whether excessive speed may have contributed to it.

Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz said they are considering other factors, as well, including weather and the experience of the driver.

"This is a tragic, tragic situation," Cruz said. "And we hope that any and all young drivers that may be out there for any reasons at this time of the year, this festive time of the year that everybody is careful and goes slow and remember that their parents love them and when they tell them to please go slow, to do that."

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