Students mourn Bucks teen killed in crash

September 3, 2009 6:17:03 PM PDT
A Bucks County high school is coping with the death of a classmate who was killed in a crash on the first day of school. Alex Smolin, 16, was getting a ride home with some friends after school when she was killed in the crash along Street Road Near Elbow Lane in Warrington Wednesday afternoon.

Police say all 3 occupants were wearing their seatbelts and speeding did not appear to be a factor. Somehow, the driver, 17-year-old senior Jessica Atkin, spun out of control hitting a tree.

Smolin had only been at Central Bucks South for a day, having recently moved from Florida. However, fellow titans say she'll never be forgotten.

On Thursday morning, Central Bucks South students mourned the loss of Smolin. Many wore black as flowers, candles, and messages were left for the young teen.

Some students organized a service for her around the flagpole with prayers and song.

Faculty and students explained: Though her time here was brief, her memory will live on.

"I know accidents happen but it's a fellow Titan and it's really, really sad," said senior Lindsey Levine.

"Some of the teachers emailed me to say what a good day she had. It just makes it really difficult," said principal W. Rodney Stone.

Stone sent a letter home to parents explaining the tragedy and says grief counselors will be on hand as long as necessary to help the students.

The man who called police after the crash was the first witness to the tragedy.

"I heard the screetch, I heard the bang. I knew right away what it was," said George Wetzell, who dialed 911.

Wetzell then ran from the driveway of his home right through the trees where he saw the car totalled. With 911 on the phone, the Vietnam vet remembers seeing the driver and the male passenger in shock and a third teen in the backseat not moving.

"I felt her pulse, but I didn't feel anything," he said.

On Wednesday night, Action News spoke to sophomore Jess Crandall, who first met the victim the morning of the crash.

"She just started today at South, her junior year, she didn't know anyone," sophomore Jess Crandall said. "When she got here, I walked her in the school and she says she's happy to have friends to walk in with her."

Then, after seeing Smolin that morning, they went their separate ways until after school when he met up with her and his friend Max and Jessica Atkin.

"They offered me a ride back to my house because Max lives right near me," Crandall said.

But instead, Crandall says, and he doesn't know why, he decided to take the bus home instead. As he thinks back, he gets a chill.

"I don't know, I'm like thinking, 'What if I did go in the car, things would have been different,' obviously," Crandall said.

Both his friend Max and Jessica Atkin were taken to Abington Hospital where Max was treated and released.


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