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Basketball

Aurora Central mourns after fatal crash

The Aurora Central Catholic community is mourning the death of two students who died Tuesday night after a car crash in Rochelle.
The Aurora Central Catholic community is mourning the death of two students who died Tuesday night after a car crash in Rochelle.

AURORA – Aurora Central Catholic High School student Seth Egger is being remembered as someone who had a smile for everyone.

Egger was one of two Aurora Central students killed in a car crash Tuesday night at Route 38 and Dement Road in Rochelle. Egger, 16, of Montgomery, and Allison Bradford, 16, of Aurora, were passengers in a white 2005 Acura SUV.

Egger died from blunt force trauma to the head, and Bradford died from blunt force trauma to the head, neck and chest, according to the Ogle County Coroner's Office.

"He was always friendly," North Aurora resident Suzanne Timm, a teacher at St. Paul Lutheran School in Aurora said of Egger, who attended the school before enrolling at Aurora Central. "He knew everybody, and he always had a smile on his face. He had a smile for everyone."

According to the Illinois State Police, the crash happened at 5:57 p.m. during "heavy fog conditions." The six ACC students were traveling to a sectional basketball game, which featured the ACC Chargers against Marengo in Rochelle.

Two other 16-year-olds and two 17-year-olds also were in the SUV, according to a report from the Illinois State Police.

Timm said she taught Egger from sixth through eighth grades. After he graduated from St. Paul, Egger would come back to visit, Timm said.

"He was just one of those kids that everybody knew and loved," Timm said. "He was a friend to everyone."

A Go Fund Me page, www.gofundme.com/oidzb0, has been established, titled "Funeral expenses for Seth Egger." It was launched by his aunt, Raquel Gonzalez-Thomas. More than $19,000 had been raised for the fund as of Wednesday evening.

A Go Fund Me page also has been established for Bradford – www.gofundme.com/oj32p0?fb_action_ids=10205413105239385&fb_action_types=og.shares. More than $6,700 had been raised as of Wednesday evening.

A news release posted on ACC's website indicated the school's community "gathered [Wednesday morning] for a special Mass to pray for the students involved in the accident, their families and the school community."

According to the state police report, the Acura was traveling west on Route 38 and failed to stop at a red light. The vehicle struck a semitrailer truck that had been attempting a left turn onto eastbound Route 38.

Bradford was not wearing a seatbelt, according to Illinois State Police. The driver of the truck was not injured.

The Acura's 17-year-old driver was issued a citation for disobeying a traffic control device, police said. He was taken to a hospital in Rochelle and then transferred to St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford with unknown injuries, according to police. The other three teenagers in the vehicle signed waivers and were released from the scene, police said.

Police said Aurora Central Catholic officials were at the scene to assist. The school stated in its release that the Rev. William Etheredge, the school's principal, arrived on the scene a few minutes after the incident and made contact with the families.

The release stated that the hospitalized student was resting at the Rockford hospital on Tuesday evening and was in stable condition Wednesday.

"This school community is grieving as a result of this terrible accident and the death of two students," the release stated. "Father Etheredge invites the local community to join us in prayer for the students and their families who died in this accident. He also invites the community to pray for the injured student and the entire school community. Priests, the guidance department and grief counselors are assisting the students."

The game was played as scheduled and ACC players and coaches did not appear to be aware of the news immediately after the team’s season-ending loss.

Support for ACC was continuing Wednesday on Twitter, using the hashtag  #PrayforACC.

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