Students at Dekaney High School in Spring struggled Thursday to come to terms with the deaths of two of their classmates a day after a horrific crash claimed the lives of the teens and a strength trainer in north Harris County.
Two football players from the school were being transported by their trainer, possibly to an after-class session in The Woodlands, when all three were instantly killed after the trainer’s speeding white Chevrolet Camaro wrapped around a concrete pillar of an overpass on the Interstate 45 service road, investigators said.
Those pronounced dead at the scene Wednesday afternoon near the intersection of the I-45 (North Freeway) feeder road and Parramatta Lane included the trainer, Larry Jessamy, 48, of Houston, and the two Dekaney students, Sarid Shahdaiah and Quincy Williams. The white 2012 Camaro, which had flipped, was so mangled that a hydraulic rescue tool had to be used to cut the victims from the vehicle, said lead Harris County sheriff’s investigator, Derek Wilkie.
A mother and her grown daughter from Houston, whom investigators said had also been involved in the wreck but left the scene, called to identify themselves six hours after the crash upon seeing news reports of the accident on television. Their names were not released.
“They knew they’d been involved. But they got scared and panicked,” Wilkie said. “We are still reviewing with the district attorney whether to file charges for leaving the scene of a wreck.”
The preliminary investigation and witness accounts indicate the two women were traveling in a minivan that had exited I-45 and was in the center lane of the northbound service road when their vehicle was sideswiped by the Camaro, which had accidentally run into a curb at the Chevron gas station on that service road. “We do not know the exact speed yet of the Camaro but it was going pretty fast,” Wilkie said.
After crashing into the minivan, the driver of the Camaro apparently lost control and began to spin, striking another curb before flipping and wrapping around the concrete pillar, investigators said.
The Camaro was possibly heading to The Woodlands where Jessamy provides work-outs for football players interested in improving their chances of playing college football when the accident occurred about 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, Wilkie said.
Shahdaiah and Williams were juniors at Dekaney High in the Spring Independent School District, said Sheleah Reed, district spokeswoman. Reed said both played on the school’s varsity football team and were in the school’s STEAM Academy. Quincy was known for his art, she said.
Counselors were on campus Thursday to help students and staff make sense of the deaths.
“It’s a really a sad time, but the kids are sticking together,” Reed said. “It’s a community at the school.”
The driver of the minivan, deputies said, told investigators she saw the car approaching. It hit a curb, sideswiped her van and then hit another curb. Deputies said the car overturned, went airborne and slammed into a pillar.
Sophia Becker, general manager at Legends Sports Complex in The Woodlands, said Jessamy had held training sessions at Legends since August. She described him as a “really good, caring, charismatic” individual who was always smiling.
Becker said he trained kids to keep them in school and go to college, often for free. She said he would pick them up from school and take them to the sports complex.
“Everybody who knew him loved him,” she said. “This is beyond heartbreaking.”
Chronicle reporters Dale Lezon and Mike Glenn contributed to this story.