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Prep hockey players killed in crash

The Associated Press

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio – Counselors met with students and teachers on Monday as a Cleveland suburb dealt with the deaths of three high school hockey players killed when their speeding car slammed into trees.

Tuesday, February 13, 2001

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio – Counselors met with students and teachers on Monday as a Cleveland suburb dealt with the deaths of three high school hockey players killed when their speeding car slammed into trees.

A teammate at Cleveland Heights High School was critically injured.

”It’s quiet, it’s somber,” said Cleveland Heights-University Heights Superintendent Paul Masem. ”There’s a lot of crying and hugging – the normal kind of thing when this kind of crisis occurs. Kids are looking for answers. I’m not sure there are a lot of answers.”

Shaker Heights Police Chief Walter Ugrinic said the car was changing lanes and going faster than 60 mph in a 35 mph zone when it ran off the left side of a divided boulevard and hit trees in the median early Sunday.

Tests were ordered to determine if drinking was involved, he said. None of the five was wearing a seat belt, Ugrinic said.

Thirty-five grief counselors, including psychologists and clergy, offered help to teens and staff members at three locations in the 2,200-student school.

Masem said hockey coaches and players would decide whether to continue in the state playoffs. The team’s first-round state qualifying tournament game Monday was postponed.

The teens were headed home about 12:40 a.m. Sunday after visiting friends. Killed were the driver, Brendon Benner, 18, fellow senior Milton Carter Jr., 18, and sophomore Kyle Barden, 16.

Another hockey player, sophomore Greg Uguccini, 15, remained in critical condition Monday at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

Scott Greggor, 16, a soccer player, was treated and released from Hillcrest Hospital.

Tire marks were still visible at the scene, which was decorated by fellow students with mementos including stuffed animals, flowers, personal notes and hockey equipment.

It was the third multifatality crash in six months involving teens in northeast Ohio. Six teens were killed in a Wayne County crash Dec. 27, and three were killed in a van-truck collision in Portage County in September.