Pittsboro community shaken by deaths of three Northwood High students just days apart

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Donaldson Funeral Home and Crematory / GoFundMe

A high school community in Chatham County is reeling after the deaths of two students and a recent graduate happened just days apart.

Counselors were made available Monday at Northwood High School in Pittsboro for students across all grade levels as students process the deaths of two students and a former one, the school district said in a news release.

“These students had bright futures and we mourn their loss,” Chatham County Schools said in a statement.

On June 17, recent graduate Christian Poteat Jr., 18, died in an accidental drowning at Eastwood Lake in Chapel Hill.

Sixteen-year-old Cassandra Sibrian was killed in a Cary car accident on June 21, according to GoFundMe page set up to pay for her funeral expenses.

Tony Lee Keck, a 15-year-old rising sophomore, died June 23 when he was fatally struck by a car while he rode an ATV in Pittsboro.

The school system is currently providing support for students and staff with counselors, Chatham County Schools said in a statement.

“I am concerned about helping our Northwood family through this,” Northwood principal Bradford Walston said in a news release. “To lose so many of our family in a year is incredibly difficult. There are supports in place for anyone who needs them. Please reach out.”

How accidents happened

On June 23, Robert Deatherage, of Durham, was in his Toyota Tacoma truck and attempted to pass Keck on a portion of the road on Alex Cockman Road designated as a passing zone for northbound traffic, the State Highway Patrol said. Keck was struck when he traveled into Deatherage’s path. Deatherage’ was not charged in the incident.

Keck ran cross-country, was awarded as a “star student” and “everyone who knew him, loved him,” according to an online obituary.

His family has requested for donations to be made in his name to the The Tony Lee Keck Memorial Fund at Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church.

Poteat, a high school football and lacrosse player, had graduated on June 10. First responders reported to the call of the drowning around 2:20 p.m. Efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful, officials said previously.

“Christian was a vivacious student with a magnetic smile and personality,” Walston said in a statement June 17.

An online GoFundMe fundraiser for the funeral expenses for Sibrian raised $4,300 out of a $3,000 goal as of Monday afternoon.

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