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Two Williamsport High School athletes killed in wreck on Rench Road

Brendon Edward Colliflower and Samantha Rae Kelly were returning from prom

May 06, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Friends of Samantha Rae Kelly and Brendon Edward Colliflower gather Sunday at the site where the two Williamsport High students were killed in an auto accident on Rench Road Saturday night.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Feeling horrified and numb, a steady stream of friends of Williamsport High School seniors Brendon Edward Colliflower and Samantha Rae Kelly turned out at the spot along Rench Road on Sunday afternoon where the two sports standouts were killed in an accident the night before.

Colliflower, a pitcher on this year’s Williamsport High School baseball team, and Kelly, a tennis and volleyball athlete at the school, had been to the high school’s prom at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center in Shepherdstown, W.Va., Saturday night. Friends believe the couple was returning from the event when the crash occurred.

Julie Greene stood on a hillside above a damaged tree at the scene, talking about how her son Brandon was longtime friends with Colliflower and how the two met through playing baseball.

Earlier in the morning, friends, family members and coaches gathered at the Williamsport High School baseball field to console each other, Greene said.

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“I’ve never seen such an outpouring of togetherness and love,” Greene said.

Colliflower and Kelly, both 17, were killed when Colliflower lost control of a 2007 Honda on Rench Road in the area of Downsville Pike, according to a news release from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

The Honda, which police determined was going at a high rate of speed, went off the road and struck a tree, the release said. Colliflower and Kelly were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office, which was notified of the crash at 11:51 p.m.

Colliflower was The Herald-Mail’s All-County Baseball Pitcher of the Year after compiling a 6-1 record in 2011. This season, Colliflower had a 3-3 record.

Kelly was a two-time All-County first-team selection in volleyball and won nine of 13 matches as the No. 1 girls singles player for the Wildcats tennis team this spring.

Both were honor roll students at Williamsport High.

Greene said Colliflower and Kelly had just started dating each other.

Mourners stood at the crash scene Sunday afternoon, looking at bouquets of flowers and other items left on the ground. A baseball was among the items and written on it was “I love you B. Love Dad. #6.”

Colliflower’s father was at the scene but said he did not feel like talking.

Another baseball had “RIP” written on it. Also laid at the scene were a volleyball and a green tennis ball, and a wooden cross adorned with blue flowers and blue ribbon was shoved into the ground.

One group of mourners would leave, then another group would come.

When one group was standing at the scene, no one spoke. The only sounds were songbirds in a nearby field and the crunching of grass underfoot as people moved around at the site.

Cars passed by along the winding road, slowing down as people gathered and walked along the berm.

A Washington County 911 dispatcher said authorities closed Rench Road at the accident scene Sunday night so people could safely walk to the scene and pay their respects.

The crash scene was on a spot on Rench Road where the road inclines then bends to the left. The damaged tree was on the other side of the incline.

Some people stood near the top of the incline, pointing to a path of flattened grass and torn-up dirt leading to the tree.

Ryan Boward walked away from the scene and stopped to talk about how he and Colliflower had become friends while playing baseball together.

The 16-year-old Williamsport High School student said it was his second time visiting the scene.
“I just can’t believe he’s actually gone,” Boward said.

Dustin Gregory, 18, and Justin Lewis, 17, both of whom attend Boonsboro High School, said they played baseball with Colliflower two summers ago on the Williamsport Nationals team.

“It’s crazy. We just played against him Wednesday and we all talked to him,” Lewis said.

Zach Shoemaker, 17, arrived at the scene with his mother, the second time he had been there Sunday.

They returned with bedding plants that they were going to leave at the scene. Shoemaker said he and Colliflower played baseball on an all-star team for Halfway Little League.

“Everyone’s just kind of shocked and sad,” Shoemaker said.

Williamsport High School volleyball coach Emily Crabtree, who coached Kelly three years on the varsity team, praised her during a telephone interview Sunday night.

Kelly was easy to coach, was a great team member and “would do whatever she had to to help us to win. It’s just a sad, sad day,” Crabtree said.

Crabtree said she was talking to Kelly’s Springfield Middle School physical education teacher recently, who told Crabtree about how she talked Kelly into trying volleyball in middle school.

“She was hooked ever since. A natural athlete,” said Crabtree, who added that Kelly planned to play volleyball in college.

— Herald-Mail Sports Editor Mark Keller contributed to this story.

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