Three teens from St. John’s Military School are dead, and another is injured after their pickup crashed in the foothills outside Denver.
The Colorado State Patrol says 18-year-old Jake Whitting of Glen Head, New York, 19-year-old John Yoder of Denver, Colorado, and 16-year-old A.J. Ricketts of Nigeria died after Whitting lost control, went off the road and crashed into a creek south of Conifer Tuesday.
17-year-old Marshall Otter, of Ulysses, Kansas, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Whitting had just graduated from St. John’s Military School in Salina on Saturday as class valedictorian and the others are current students.
The State Patrol says alcohol and drugs are suspected of contributing to the crash and will be investigated by the coroner.
The school released the following statement:
The St. John’s family is in mourning today suffering the loss of Jake Whitting, John Yoder, and Akinwumi “AJ” Ricketts after the three perished in a car accident in Colorado.
Jake of Glen Head, NY, was newly graduated and planned to attend Santa Barbara City College with two fellow Old Boys. John of Denver, Colo., and AJ of Nigeria, were both juniors at the school with plans to return to St. John’s their senior year.
A fourth cadet, Marshall Otter of Ulysses, Kan., is being treated at a Colorado hospital for injuries sustained in the accident and expected to make a full recovery.
The St. John’s community of cadets, parents and alumni is a small and tightly bound family. The loss of these three outstanding young men has left an emptiness that can never be filled. The staff and faculty gathered today to share strength, celebrate these young men’s lives, and prepare to provide the support and caring that their families will need.
We are left to remember the impact they have had on all of our lives and to mourn the loss of their bright futures. Our heartfelt condolences go out to their families and loved ones. Our current efforts are to provide support to them in any way we can.
Additionally, we will seek to provide their fellow cadets with opportunities to gather, share strength, and support one another. In keeping with the bonds created at St. John’s Military School, we will come together to navigate this difficult time.
We have received numerous calls of support from cadets, families, alumni, and friends of St. John’s. For this we are truly grateful. The St. John’s family is amazing in its strength.
Any messages or condolences can be sent by care of the school to:
St. John’s Military School
110 W. Otis Ave.
Salina, KS 67401
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