Indiana State University Caleb VanHooser
Three young men believed to be Indiana State University students died in a car crash on Sunday.
Five people were in the vehicle early Sunday morning when it went off the road and struck a tree on State Road 46 on Main Street in Riley, Indiana, according to a statement from the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office. The vehicle caught fire before first responders arrived to help.
Three people – the driver and two passengers – were pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. Two others were transported to a medical facility “with serious injuries.”
The VCSO identified the victims Monday as 18-year-old Christian Eubanks of Waukegan, Illinois, and 19-year-old Caleb VanHooser of Liberty Township, Ohio, and Jayden Musili of Fort Wayne, Indiana
The two injured victims were identified as 20-year-old Omarian Dixon of Lafayette, Indiana and 19-year-old John Moore of Wheaton, Illinois.
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According to a press release shared by the school on Sunday, all of the victims are believed to be ISU students, “including several football players.”
“This is a terrible tragedy,” said ISU President Dr. Deborah J Curtis. “While we await further details from the authorities investigating this accident, our hearts go out to the families and friends of the students involved.”
A vigil for the victims was held Sunday in front of the arch at Memorial Stadium in Terre Haute, according to the Tribune Star.
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The Lakota East High School football team mourned VanHooser’s death Sunday on Twitter, writing that the “former Hawk Great” and “his contributions to our program” will never be forgotten.
VanHooser’s former athletic director Rich Bryant told ABC affiliate WCPO-TV the young man “had that smile” and “always brightened a room.”
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“He was a good all-rounder [person] who always had a smile on his face,” Bryant told the outlet. “He was an incredibly hard worker. He’s that kid. Everyone knew Caleb.”
Lakota East plan to honor VanHooser by sporting decals of the former player’s No. 2 on their helmets, according to the report.
The William Henry Harrison High School football team Dixon said “out of surgery” in a tweet shared Sunday, adding that he “still needs all the prayers he can get.”
Harrison High School principal Cory Marshall declined to comment on the matter.
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Counseling services have been made available to those affected by the tragedy, according to the ISU press release.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing, according to the sheriff’s office.