Metea students rally together in wake of Aurora teen’s death
By Matt Hanley and Erika Wurst firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com October 23, 2012 9:18AM
A group of students console each other as they gather at a makeshift memorial for Devin Meadows near the scene where he was killed in an early morning car crash on Tuesday, October 23, 2012. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 25, 2012 11:35AM
AURORA — The Metea Valley High School community is banding together following the death of a popular sophomore athlete.
Devin Meadows, of the 2500 block of Crestview Drive, was killed early Tuesday morning when the car he was riding in crashed into a house in the 2700 block of Hamman Way on Aurora’s far East Side.
“Right when you walked into school, you knew it wasn’t a normal day,” said sophomore Erin Hickey. “It seems like a dream, and that tomorrow he’ll be back.”
But as she stood above a pool of flowers that accumulated near the crash site, she realized that would not be the case.
Hickey and dozens of other Metea Valley students flocked to the accident scene throughout the day Tuesday, dropping off football-shaped balloons and letters for the three-sport athlete.
According to the Indian Prairie School District, Meadows was a member of the sophomore football team, played basketball and ran track.
“The bottom line is that he was a good kid, a great athlete with a good spirit. He loved to play ball and was always doing something athletic,” a neighbor of the teen said. “He adored his little brother, and was just a damn good kid.”
Yellow crime scene tape roped off the perimeter of the Hamman Way home the vehicle struck, and crews worked throughout the day making repairs to the garage. As school let out, a steady stream of mourners arrived on the scene, trying to gauge what exactly happened, and more importantly, why.
Hickey and sophomore Paula Kisch sat solemnly under a tree outside the home as the rain poured down Tuesday afternoon. The two students left school early, along with dozens of others who found it difficult to concentrate following the news of the crash.
“The whole school has really come together for each other,” Kisch said.
Aurora police said they have questioned the teenage driver of the car, who was not identified. The teen was released Tuesday without charges, but multiple law enforcement sources expected the driver to be charged once the investigation is complete. The 15-year-old did not have a license.
According to police, the crash occurred at 1:43 a.m. when the car Meadows was riding in left the road while heading north in the 2700 block of Stonebridge Boulevard, in the Country Club Village subdivision near Eola Road and Indian Trail.
The Chevy Malibu left Stonebridge Boulevard, went across part of the Granger Middle School parking lot and hit a curb, before launching up the embankment. On Tuesday morning, the curb was cracked and bits of the wheel were dug into the grassy embankment.
Police said after the car went up the embankment, it flipped in the air and landed back on its wheels. It clipped three trees as it went through the back yard of the Hamman Way home.
The car smashed into the two-story house, ripping off the corner of the garage. It came to rest sideways against a car in the garage.
Aurora Police Lt. Pete Inda said Meadows, a passenger in the back seat, was thrown from the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Meadows was not wearing a seat belt, police said. The other three boys in the car — all 15-year-old students at Metea Valley — were wearing seat belts and suffered minor injuries, police said. No one in the home was injured.
Drugs and alcohol are not believed to be involved in the crash, police said.
Homeowner: house shook
Joshila Chandra and her family were asleep when the car slammed into their house. The house shook, and a few moments later someone was frantically ringing the door bell.
“We didn’t go out,” said Chandra, 37. “We were scared.”
Chandra said they could not see the car from their window — but they could see someone lying in the street, in front of her neighbor’s house. She initially thought the kids were playing a Halloween prank. The teens in the car were running through the cul-de-sac, ringing doorbells trying to get help, Chandra said.
Chandra called 911 and police arrived quickly.
“When they told us what happened, then we started shaking,” she said.
Speed was a factor in the crash, Inda said. Though the car hit the front corner of the house, Chandra found the battery in the back yard.
Lesson to be learned
Using the hash tag #RememberDevin, Metea Valley students flooded Twitter with condolences.
“Silence and tears were the loudest things I heard today.. :( #rememberdevin,” one student wrote. Hundreds of others followed suit — and many took the opportunity to turn the tragedy into a lesson.
“Whenever I get into a car I’ll remember to be careful, just for you #RememberDevin,” another student wrote.
“Let this be a reminder to all of us to wear a seat belt. Just one click can save your life. #RememberDevin,” one girl tweeted.
Students were organizing a prayer vigil expected to take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Faith Lutheran Church, 3000 Liberty St.
“Wow, I never realized how short life can be until today. RIP Devin Meadows,” one tweet read.