CLOVIS, California (KSEE/KGPE) — The entire Clovis Unified School District community is in mourning after two high school students died in a car crash late Friday night. To honor their lives, family and friends gathered in the same spot as the crash for a vigil.
Officers received a report of a traffic collision involving a silver 2001 Jaguar S-Type 3 in the area of Armstrong and Bullard Avenues at 11:41 p.m., Sgt. Jim Munro with the Clovis Police Department said. Two occupants were found dead inside the crashed vehicle.
They were identified as 17-year-old Jack Schwass and 16-year-old Thomas Brown, a Gateway High School student, and Clovis High School student respectively.
As news of the crash spread, family and friends quickly started a memorial where they were found.
“It just didn’t feel real at first. It was really devastating,” said Skylar Coon, a friend, and teammate of Brown’s on the football team. “Losing a friend that’s so young, it’s just really heartbreaking.”
The memorial continued to grow as the day went on, eventually drawing a huge crowd by night — so big, several Clovis Police officers shut down the street.
Taking turns, people shared their favorite memories of the two, many describing them as nice guys who had a lot ahead of them.
“He gave me tips because I just started my wrestling career,” one of Brown’s friends said. “He beat me [in our first match], shook my hand, and he said, ‘Great match brother, you’ll get there eventually.'”
Many of Schwass’ family attended the vigil, thanking the community for their support and hoping to create something positive out of this tragedy.
“The void that we feel in our hearts can never be filled, but we can use that grief and focus it positively and honor them,” said Schwass’ aunt, Monique.
But, most importantly, spreading the message to not take life for granted.
“Just live your best life. You never know when you don’t have tomorrow,” said Summer Schwass, Jack’s mother. “Make the most of every day you can have.”
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.