CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - Authorities are investigating a single-car crash that killed a 17-year-old and injured three other teens.
According to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, the car lost control on Old Orange Mill Road near Creekview High School around 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Investigators said the 17-year-old who was killed was the front-seat passenger. The 17-year-old driver and another 17-year-old who was sitting in the back seat were seriously injured and taken to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital.
A 15-year-old who was sitting in the back seat suffered minor injuries and was also taken to the hospital.
The principal of Creekview High School identified the teen who died as Stephen Smith, describing him as an energetic student-athlete who was known as a friend to all. Smith was a high school senior.
"He was always willing to help out classmates and loved track and field, especially the jumping events," Principal Dr. Mark Merges said.
Smith's family said everyone is still in disbelief.
With the crash happening so close to the school, leaders said they're making sure all resources are available for the many grieving students.
"It's very tough, very tough," said Director Jay Baker with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
Smith's family said he had dreams of becoming an engineer.
"There's a large embankment and trees off to the side, and a car actually went off to the road and struck a tree. There was a small fire with the accident, as well," Baker said.
Investigators with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office used 3D radar technology to map the scene as part of their investigation.
A full report is pending but authorities have already made one determination.
"It does appear that probably speed played a factor," Baker said.
As loved ones lean on fond memories of Smith, the community is praying there won't be any more deaths from this crash.
"We're concerned, obviously, about the other students that were in the car. Hopefully, they're going to heal up," Baker said.
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