Witness of Crash That Killed Teen: It Looked Worse Than Anything I've Ever Seen

A car carrying 5 young people crashed into a pole in Northampton Township Saturday afternoon, killing 1 teen

By Jackie Gailey, Cydney Long and David Chang
|  Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012  |  Updated 6:48 PM EDT
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A car crash in Northampton Township on Saturday night killed Cameron Smithwick, 19, and sent four of his friends to the hospital. NBC10's Marisa Brahney spoke to Cameron's sister.

NBC10 Philadelphia - Marisa Brahney

A car crash in Northampton Township on Saturday night killed Cameron Smithwick, 19, and sent four of his friends to the hospital. NBC10's Marisa Brahney spoke to Cameron's sister.

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"He was a wonderful person. So generous, happy and full of life."

That's how Addison Smithwick remembers her 19-year-old brother Cameron who was killed on Saturday in a car accident. The car carrying him along with four other teenagers crashed into a pole on Old Jacksonville Road between Ridge Way and Sackettsford Road in Northampton Township.

Cameron, who attended Council Rock North High School before moving to Texas, was the only person killed in the accident. Four other teens were injured. Addison was with the five teens at Dominick's Pizza Shop in Richboro minutes before the crash.

"It hit the ditch kind of on the side, popped the car up and made it slide," said Addison. "He was on the grass trying to cut it and slow it down and he cut it I guess too fast. The car flipped into the pole and tree."

The car sheared a utility pole and several trees, knocking out power to 22 homes nearby.

Jason Reichett, a friend of the victims, witnessed the crash as well.

"It looked and sounded worse than anything I've ever seen," said Reichett. "They were running around the car screaming. Sirens were coming from everywhere."

Erin Dignam, another friend of the victims, also described the horrific scene.

"My three friends had to crawl out the back window," said Dignam. "The whole front of the car was smashed in and the driver was pinned against his seat."

Police say the driver of the car, identified as 18-year-old LJ Tanner, is in critical condition while the other three passengers were released from the hospital. Reichett and Dignam identified the victims as the following people:

  • 19-year-old Cameron Smithwick, a former student at Council Rock High School North. He was killed in the crash. Police say he was the only one not wearing his seatbelt.

Credit: Facebook.com

  • 18-year-old LJ Tanner, the driver of the car and senior at Council Rock High School North. He is currently in intensive care in the hospital.
  • Credit: Facebook.com
  • 18-year-old Dan Harris, a senior at Council Rock High School South who was in the backseat of the car. On his Facebook page, Harris posted, "the difference between life and death for me was a seat-belt." He has been released from the hospital. 
  • Credit: Facebook.com
  • 17-year-old Louis Piotti, a student at Council Rock High School South. He has been released from the hospital.
  • Credit: Facebook.com
  • 17-year-old Matt Slade, a senior at Council Rock High School South. He has been released from the hospital. 
  • Credit: Facebook.com

Police are currently investigating the cause of the crash. They don't believe alcohol played a role.

The Superintendent of the Council Rock School District announced that counselors will be on-hand Monday at Council Rock North and Council Rock South to help students deal with the death of a friend.

My mom, I'm going to be there for her but I've never seen her worse," said Addison. " She can't talk." 

Addison says she's also praying for Tanner and his recovery.

"He's tough," said Addison." He's one of the toughest people I know and I know he can make it through it. It's just going to be really hard. Everyone needs to pray for LJ and his family. And if everyone could pray for my mom in this time of grief, that would be amazing." 
 

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