CLIFTON, Va. - A Fairfax County teenager has died after crashing his vehicle into a tree that also left two other teenagers injured, police said.
The single-vehicle crash happened on Fairfax Station Road near Colewood Estates Road in Clifton before 2 p.m. Tuesday.
According to Fairfax County police, a 2005 Jeep was traveling westbound on Fairfax Station Road when it ended up leaving the roadway and slamming into a tree.
The driver who was killed in the crash has been identified by school officials as 17-year-old Conner McGowan, a junior student at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax. Police said he died from his injuries in the hospital overnight.
Detectives believe speed was a factor in the crash, but alcohol was not.
One of the injured passengers remains at the hospital while the other teenage victim was released after being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
McGowan was a popular, standout athlete at Robinson Secondary School. His friends and classmates attended a vigil Wednesday night at Burke Community Church and spoke about the impact he had on their lives.
"It's just going to be really weird because he's not going to be there anymore," said his neighbor Emily Asmus.
"Right now, I just can't really comprehend it," said Bennett Wyant. "I just can't believe he's gone."
Wyant and McGowan grew up together and played lacrosse on the same team.
"He was funny, he was nice, he was always outgoing," Wyant said. "He was one of those kids that if you needed to talk to somebody, he was always there."
School officials say McGowan was a member of the Student Government Association and has a sister who also attends Robinson Secondary School.
"Robinson is a very tight community and I think having everyone together like this really helps," said Pamela Asmus.
Principal Matthew Eline sent a letter to parents about McGowan's death.
Dear Robinson Parents-
I am deeply saddened to report to you the accidental death of Robinson Junior Conner McGowan. Conner was an excellent student and a member of our Student Government Association. He was a member of his class council, coached the 10th grade powder puff team, and was a huge fan of homecoming events. He was a very engaging young man, well-liked by all who knew him, and will be greatly missed by the Robinson school community. Conner has a sister who attends Robinson Secondary School.
I have been in contact with Conner's family to offer them our condolences and support. The family has allowed me to share the news of his death with you so that you may be prepared to support your children. We will take every step we can to be responsive to the needs of our students and their families. Our counselors along with an FCPS crisis team are available to meet with any students or staff who need support in processing this news. We are available for students both on Thursday and Friday after 10 a.m. Please come to the main office at Robinson if you need support.
The family has asked me to share with you that there is a vigil tonight at 6 p.m. at the Burke Community Church to remember Conner. The family will be providing me with arrangement details at a later time.
On behalf of all members of the school staff, our deepest condolences are with Conner's family and friends during this difficult time.
Thank you for your understanding as we support the McGowan family.