Center Grove students involved in deadly car crash in Greenwood; 1 killed, 1 critically injured

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GREENWOOD, Ind. — A 16-year-old is dead and another teen is seriously injured after a head-on crash in Greenwood.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office says the single-vehicle crash happened around 7:10 p.m. Thursday in the 1600 block of South Paddock Road.

Neighbors nearby said they heard the crash when it happened.

”I was in the kitchen and heard almost what I thought was a transformer exploding,” said Sara Davis.

Sara and her husband Chris’s backyard is across the street from where the crash happened.

”The car caught on fire seconds after it hit the tree,” said Chris

The Davises said their neighbor across the street was the first person on the scene.

”My neighbor grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran and put the fire out,” Chris said. “He could tell right away the passenger was not in good shape and the driver was in bad shape also.”

According to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, the driver was 16-year-old Hunter Riffle, he was taken to Eskenazi Hospital in critical condition.

The passenger in the car was 16-year-old Austin Norris, he died at the scene.

Both teens go to Center Grove High School. A spokesperson for the high school said counselors were on hand for students today struggling with the loss. Friday is the last day before Fall Break.

”It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to ever have anything happen to your child, let alone something traumatic like this,” said Sara.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the crash but, in a statement, said witnesses on scene told them the Volkswagen GT the two teens were in was going fast.

To the Davises and other neighbors along Paddock Rd., this is not a surprise. They say speeding on the street has been a problem for years.

”They come as fast as they can this way and go up over that hill and get airborne… motorcycles, trucks cars,” said Chris.

Just a few houses down, Kimberly Massengill said the same.

”When I was a kid growing up over here this was like a drag strip,” Massengill said.

A spokesperson for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said there is still more investigating to do before they can officially determine a cause of the crash, but families along paddock road hope drivers will watch their speed.

”Please be careful, slow down, it’s not worth it,” said Chris.

As the news sets in around the community, people are rallying around the families of the two teenagers.

”We’re just heartbroken for the family that doesn’t get to say goodnight for their child tonight,” Sara said.

Friday night Center Grove High School had a home football game, there was a moment of silence.

One neighbor left a bench at the scene of the crash. He said it can be the beginning of a memorial for the teenager who died.

Bench in memory of teen who died in crash

Anyone who witnessed the crash or saw the car before it crashed is asked to please call the sheriff’s office at 317-346-4615. Please refer to case number J21012242 when supplying information to investigators.

Police are specifically looking to speak with the driver of a smaller style light colored gray SUV with some type of luggage container attached to the top of the SUV. They may have witnessed the Volkswagen prior to the accident occurring.

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