Community mourns 2 WCSU lacrosse players killed in Friday crash

COLCHESTER – Two students at Western Connecticut State University were killed in an accident in Colchester on Friday afternoon, state police said.

Police then identified the students as residents of Colchester, Jacob Chapman, 18, and Tyler Graham, 18.

A third student, later identified as Trey Massaro, 19, of Dalton, Mass., Was airlifted to Hartford hospital with suspected serious injuries, state police said.

Massaro was seriously injured but is expected to recover, WCSU President John Clark said on Saturday.

“We continue to mourn the loss of two of our promising young students and look forward to a strong recovery for Trey,” said Clark.

In his announcement, Clark said there are plans to hold a memorial for Chapman and Graham on campus, and more details will be released soon.

All three are college freshmen and members of the men’s lacrosse team.

Chapman and Graham were both pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from the Ancell School of Business. They had also attended Bacon Academy in Colchester where they played in attack, midfielder, the university announced on Saturday.

Massaro holds a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice and Law and Law Enforcement from the Ancel School of Business. He attended Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton, Mass., Where he played in midfield with a long stick, according to WCSU.

Colchester First Selectman Mary Bylone said the community was heartbroken over the deaths of Champman and Graham.

“Jake and Tyler were both deeply committed to their community and their schools,” Bylone wrote on his office’s Facebook page. “Full of promise and hope for the future, they represented the best of Colchester’s youth and will be sadly missed by all who knew and loved them. “

Police were notified of the crash, which took place on Lake Hayward Road near the intersection of Highway 354, around 1 p.m. Friday.

A Troop K incident report indicated that Chapman was driving a red 2010 Nissan Altima westbound on Route 354 when he attempted to overtake another car at high speed. For some reason, the car pulled off the road and collided with a metal guardrail and several trees before coming to a stop on an embankment, according to the incident summary.

Graham, who was in the front seat passenger, was pronounced dead at the scene. Chapman was transported to Marlborough Medical Clinic and was later pronounced dead, state police said.

Massaro was airlifted to Hartford hospital with serious injuries, state police said.

Highway 354 at Lake Hayward Road was closed for about five hours and the crash is still under investigation, police said.

A wave of support and condolences filled social media on Saturday following the news of the fatal crash.

“Tyler was a phenomenal athlete, someone who would do whatever it took to make his mark on the pitch, and a player whose work ethic was so infectious that those around him pushed themselves to be the best it can be, ”Connecticut Valley Lacrosse told his Facebook page. “Life is too short. Tyler, we will miss you and everyone whose lives you have had an impact on … We will never forget you and the time you spent with our program.

Graham had played with the program in addition to his time with the Bacon Academy team.

Chapman started playing lacrosse at the age of 10, according to his ConnectLax profile.

The teams that have played the duo have also praised them.

“The lacrosse community suffered a great loss yesterday,” Eastern Catholic Boys Lacrosse wrote on his Facebook page. “Our love and prayers go out to the Bacon Academy Lacrosse program, West Conn Men’s Lacrosse, the community of Colchester and more specifically the friends and families of Jake Chapman and Tyler Graham (class of 2021) who tragically lost their lives. They were great competitors on the pitch and were taken from us far too soon. May they rest in peace. “

A Colchester resident held a candlelight vigil for the two boys. The vigil will be held on October 24 at 6 p.m. on Colchester Town Green at 98 Hayward Ave.

Colchester Youth Services will be offering counseling in the coming days to anyone who needs it.

The WCSU Advisory Center met with players and coaches of the lacrosse team. WCSU will also provide advice to students at Litchfield Hall, where Chapman and Graham lived, and other students seeking service, Clark said on Friday.

Editor-in-chief Adam Hushin contributed to this report.

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