Wilmington Students Honor 4 Teens Killed in Crash

Students at Wilmington High School to wear black Wednesday in teens' memory

In southwest suburban Wilmington, students at the local high school plan to wear black to honor four classmates who died in a horrific crash.

Four teens were killed when the car they were in swerved off the road, smashed through a guardrail and ended up submerged in a creek.

Will County sheriffs confirmed Cheyenne Fender, 17; Cody Carter, 15; Mathew Bailey 14; and Michaela Sembach, 15, were in the 2011 Mitsubishi in Forked Creek along Ballou Road.

All three of the closest school districts have reached out to Wilmington to provide grief counselors for the rest of this week, and as long as they're needed.  That's just one way this tight-knit community is coming together in the wake  of this tragedy.

"All the towns are pretty much coming together," said Brett Shepherd, a senior at Wilmington High.

"Wearing black just to show respect to the students that were killed a couple days ago in the accident," Shepherd said. "Figured I need to show respect towards them."

"It just shows that all of us are still together as one family and stuff," Tom Catlin, a junior, said.

The sudden disappearance of the four teens left parents panic-stricken and classmates heartbroken.

"I was really shocked and I didn't really know what to think because I grew up with Cody. I was always at their house and everything. It's just a shocker," student Corey Harper said.

Will County Sheriff's Department spokesman Ken Kaupas said weather may have played a role in the crash but declined to offer an official speculation.

"There may have been water coming over the roadway just before the bridge," he said. "We've had a tremendous amount of runoff and melting as everyone in the area has experienced, and that may have contributed to this horrific crash."

Wilmington High School Supt. Jay Plese said the school community was "suffering at this terrible time."

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