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Teens drawn to crash site to make sense of tragic deaths

“It's still hard to wrap my head around it"
Posted at 5:42 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 17:42:06-04

YORKSHIRE, NY (WKBW) — State police continue to warn families we are still moving through what is know as the “100 Deadliest Days”. That is the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day considered the most deadliest on the roads for teen drivers.

State Police tell 7 Eyewitness there has been an “uptick” of fatal collisions.

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Nate Schwartz and Alex Schenk killed Sunday in crash.

This past weekend two young men, who graduated this year from Pioneer Central Schools, died in a car crash.

“It's still hard to wrap my head around it to be 100-percent honest,” Noah Mader.

Raw emotion from friends of Nate Schwartz and Alex Schenk.

The two 18-year-olds were killed Sunday night in a two-car crash on West Yorkshire Road in Yorkshire.

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Graduation photo placed at memorial site.

Both teens had just gradated in June from Pioneer High School.

State Trooper James O’Callaghan say Schwartz was driving westbound and his vehicle "partially contacted" an eastbound vehicle.

State Trooper James O’Callaghan in Zoom interview.

That caused the teen's car to leave the road, overturn and hit a tree.

“Once the autopsies completed, we get a toxicology. Does distracted driving play a role? Does speed play a role? — this is all collisions reconstruction unit doing their job,” explained Trooper O’Callaghan.

The tree that was hit is next to Tidd's Auto Parts. Owner Bill Tidd says he watched as investigators conducted work the next morning.

“Had the drone in the air and taking pictures and measures as part of their investigation,” Tidd recalled.

Trooper O’Callaghan says it could take more than a month before they know the cause of the crash.

Memorial set up in honor of two teens killed in a crash in Yorkshire.

A memorial is set up at the crash site, where friends, like Noah Mader and Ashton Filighera, showed up at the memorial site to pay tribute to Alex and Nate.

They didn't go to school with Nate and Alex, but met through sports.

“Always remember playing sports with them — tussling at our friend Brendan’s house,”reflect Mader.

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Ashton Filighera and Noah Mader stopped by the crash site Tuesday.

“I knew Schenk more than I did Nate, but there was never a dull moment with any of them,” Filighera remembered.

The two friends deeply touched — shared an emotional embrace while looking at all the photos, flowers and items to honor Nate and Alex's memory.

Noah Mader and Ashton Filighera embrace at the crash site.

Alex and Nate were well know athletes and members of the Pioneer Wrestling team. Gofundme pages are now set up for both young men with more than $20,000 already raised for each.

The teens visiting the crash site say it is bittersweet, but felt compelled to be there as they deal with this tragedy and friends lost forever.

“I met Shenck — he was probably about the nicest guy you will meet,” Mader noted.