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‘The whole community is devastated’: Sharbot Lake, Ont. mourning the death of teen in crash

The mayor of Central Frontenac says the community is devastated following the death of a 16-year-old high school student in a single-vehicle crash in Sharbot Lake, Ont.

Emergency crews responded to the crash on Burke Settlement Road at approximately 12 p.m. Thursday. The crash occurred approximately 125 kilometres southwest of downtown Ottawa.

Ontario Provincial Police say an SUV left the roadway and rolled over in the ditch, striking a tree. In a letter to parents, Granite Ridge Education Centre identified the victim as Alex Cryer, a student at the school.

“He was a cherished member of our school community, and his loss is felt deeply by all who knew him,” principal Carrie Moore said. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends. As an entire school community, we offer our deepest sympathy at this time.”

Five other students of Granite Ridge Education Centre were injured in the crash.

“Everybody came home yesterday just in tears,” Mayor Frances Smith tells CTV News Ottawa. “It’s a very close-knit community and people really feel hard and they care about each other.”

“It’s a really tough time for everyone.”

There were six people in the vehicle, ranging in age from 15 to 17.  The 16-year-old who died in the crash was a passenger in the SUV, according to police.

Two other passengers suffered serious injuries in the crash. Police say one person was airlifted to CHEO, while the other occupants of the vehicle were transported to hospitals in Kingston and Perth.

Smiths says residents could hear sirens going off in the town.

“It wasn’t long until the rumour mill let us know that it was a carload of our young kids from the school, out on a beautiful sunny day, you know, during their lunch time and this tragedy happened,” Smith said. “The whole community is devastated. The high school is just in mourning.”

Moore says staff are available for students at Granite Ridge Education Centre “as long as needed.”

“Today and over the coming weeks, you may be concerned about your student’s reaction or expressions of feeling about this upsetting news,” Moore said.

“These reactions and feelings may be part of the grieving process. Many students will wish to talk with their parents/guardians. I encourage you to let your student know that you are aware of the death and that you will listen to their concerns at any time they wish to share them.”

Police say the investigation into the crash continues.

“It is a gravel road in the area,” OPP spokesperson Bill Dickson told CTV News Ottawa on Thursday. “We have our collision reconstructionist and our traffic collision investigators on scene. They’ll be looking at every aspect of the road’s surface, the vehicle, the weather conditions at the time. They take everything into account when they look to find out how this happened so that we can let the families impacted by this know what went on.”

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Ted Raymond

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