UNITY TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – The community is mourning the loss of a Crestview High School senior who died from his injuries after a car crash overnight, just days before he was scheduled to graduate.
Sunday night, a candlelight vigil will be held at 8 p.m. next to the New Waterford Village Park.
Timothy Walton, 18, was a passenger in a car driven by 18-year-old Jacob Chamberlain, of East Palestine. Walton was about to graduate with a welding certificate.
“I don’t want to believe it, but I got to,” said Darrell Wooten, a friend of Walton’s.
Ohio State Highway Patrol said Chamberlain was driving a 2004 Chevrolet Impala when he crashed at the corner of Creek and Metz Roads around 12:30 a.m. He went off the left side of the road, striking a ditch and tree before overturning.
Troopers said he left the scene to call 911, but a few friends said they got there first.
“‘We flipped the car over to try to get them out because they were just asking for help,” Ryan Morris said.
Chamberlain was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital, along with Walton and another passenger, 21-year-old Tyler Barnes, of New Waterford.
Walton, who was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, died from his injuries in the hospital.
“Tim’s a great man, he always respected everybody,” said another friend, Beau Graham. “He just wanted the best for everybody and he was having a baby on the way.”
Barnes is still in the hospital with several broken bones, but First News was told he was in stable condition Friday afternoon.
Highway Patrol said Chamberlain, who was wearing a seat belt, had only minor injuries. He was cited for operating a vehicle under the influence.
Highway Patrol thinks alcohol and speed were factors, but the crash remains under investigation.
Graham said he is praying for the families affected.
“I just pray for the best for the families and you know, I love both their families. I love Tyler and I love Tim…they’re my best friends.”
School counselor Darren Miller said the school is offering grief counseling for anyone who needs it, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday.
“Don’t hold this in. Reach out, talk to people and be able to process this. Give yourself permission to experience the grief you need to.”
Miller said the school is also honoring Walton at graduation Sunday afternoon.
Next Saturday, Walton’s father, family and friends will gather at a park in New Waterford to celebrate his life.