Two teenagers were killed and two others were injured in a violent car accident following an underage drinking party, Montgomery County police said.
A 2006 Acura TSX ran off the road late Thursday night, struck several objects and landed in the yard of a home on Dufief Mill Road in North Potomac.
All of the occupants of the vehicle had either just graduated from or currently attend Wootton High School in Rockville.
Police said the teenager behind the wheel was 18-year-old Samuel Ellis, who survived the crash, but suffered life-threatening injuries.
"It was quite clear to us that speed, alcohol and a lack of seat belts by the backseat passengers were directly related or factors involved in the collision of this nature," said Montgomery County Police Capt. Tom Didone.
He said the two teenagers who died, Calvin Jia-Xing Li and Alexander Murk, were in the back seat of the car. Both were 18 years old.
Ellis and another unnamed teenager, who was not seriously hurt, were in the front where the air bags deployed.
Beer cans, still cold to the touch, were inside the car. Capt. Didone said officers quickly learned the four teenagers were coming from a party in North Potomac.
"We are still actively investigating it, so I am not going to disclose the location," he said. "There were a few citations issued, but the party was not active at the time that we arrived at the scene."
Didone said an adult answered the door at the home, but so far, no charges have been filed.
No one answered when we visited the home Friday afternoon, but beer cans still littered the cul-de-sac nearby.
Police say if there were adult hosts supplying or allowing alcohol consumption, they will be charged.
"These are good kids that made a bad decision," said Capt. Didone.
At the scene of the crash on Friday, one girl had just stepped out a car about a hundred yards or so from the scene when she collapsed in tears. Her friends -- many already crying -- rushed to her side. It was a gut-wrenching scene as the reality of what happened sunk in.
"It's just really sad," said Monica London, who left flowers at the scene. "I know these kids. I know their parents. It's really sad and it could have been any one of our kids."
Ellis was quarterback of the football team, and according to his Twitter account, he was heading to the University of South Carolina for college.
Dozens of students gathered Friday night to comfort each other at Wootton High School for a vigil.
"Just tragic," said Kyle Sorkin, a friend of the victims. "It just goes to show it can happen to anybody at any time."
Li was supposed to head to the University of Maryland in the fall while Murk was to attend Penn State University.
"Calvin was the most caring, nicest guy I think I've ever met," Sorkin told us.
Condolences are flooding in on social media. The boy who survived the crash is a rising senior at the school. He posted some heartbreaking message on Twitter.
Even though summer break has started, Wootton High School will be open on Monday to provide grief counselors for students and families.
"What I'm feeling the most is that I hope this case can turn into a message for future generations of people to know the real risk you run with drinking and driving," Sorkin said.
Michael Doran, principal of Wootton High School, released the following statement:
Dear Wootton Community,
As many of you might have seen on the news this morning, we have had a tragedy in our community. Two of our students were killed and two others injured in a car accident early this morning. Wootton will be open to our students and families on Monday, June 29th from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm to help our community begin to cope with this tragedy. We will have our counseling staff, grief counselors, and other personnel available to our students on Monday.
As we receive more information about funeral services, we will post the information on our website as well.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families involved in this tragedy.