2 College Lacrosse Players, 18, Killed in Connecticut Crash: 'They Were the Best of Friends'

·3 min read
Western Connecticut State University Twitter
Western Connecticut State University Twitter

Western Connecticut State University Twitter(2) (L-R) Jacob Chapman, Tyler Graham

Three members of the Western Connecticut State University lacrosse team were involved in a fatal crash last week.

Jake Chapman and Tyler Graham, both 18, were killed after being involved in a fatal car accident on Friday afternoon in Colchester, according to WFSB.

NBC Connecticut reported that a car, driven by Chapman, was trying to pass another vehicle at a high speed when it left the road and hit a metal guardrail as well as multiple trees before falling down an embankment.

Chapman was pronounced dead at Marlborough Medical Clinic while Graham was pronounced dead at the scene, per the outlet.

The Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that Graham and Chapman both died from blunt injuries to the head, extremities and torso, according to WFSB.

Another freshman lacrosse player for the team, Trey Massaro, was also seriously injured in the accident, but "is expected to recover," according to a statement from WCSU.

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"It is with great sadness that I must convey the terrible news that three members of the WestConn Men's Lacrosse Team were involved in a deadly traffic accident Friday afternoon," WCSU President Dr. John B. Clark wrote in a statement on Friday night.

"We plan on having a memorial for Jacob and Tyler on campus soon. I will share more information about that as plans develop," Clark added in a subsequent statement. "We continue to mourn the loss of two of our promising young students and hope for a strong recovery for Trey."

In addition to all being members of the men's lacrosse team, Chapman majored in Business Management while Graham was a Management Information Sciences major. Both students were from Colchester and graduated from Bacon Academy.

Massaro, 19, is pursuing a B.S. in JLA-Law Enforcement from the Ancell School of Business and attended high school in Massachusetts, per the school.

"Our Colchester community is heartbroken," read a message from the first selectman's office. "Both Jake and Tyler were deeply committed to their community and to their schools. Full of promise and hope for the future, they represented the best of Colchester's young people and will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved them."

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A candlelit vigil was held for Chapman and Graham in their hometown on Sunday, according to Fox affiliate WCCT.

"Tyler and Jake were two peas in a pod as far as anyone is concerned," Marissa Mazzola, who organized the vigil, told the outlet. "They were the best of friends."

"The past couple of days have been a hurricane of emotions. I don't think a lot of us know how to handle it," Marissa added. "It's been very hard trying to figure out what we're feeling."

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Online fundraisers have been organized on behalf of both Chapman and Graham's families.

"He had a magnetic personality and anyone who met him couldn't help but smile," read a message on a GoFundMe page created to help Chapman's family with funeral expenses.

"Tyler aka Mambo was fierce on the lacrosse field but had a heart of gold," read a message on Graham's GoFundMe page.

Both fundraisers have raised over $33,000 as of Tuesday.

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