Just one week ago, Devin Meadows posted a picture showing him and someone he called a “best friend” seated in the driver and passenger seats of a car.
The message on his Twitter account read: “Ride til I die.”
Early Tuesday, Devin and three friends were riding in a car that authorities say jumped a curb, traveled across a grassy area and then struck an Aurora home.
Devin, a 15-year-old sophomore at Metea Valley High School in Aurora, flew out a window and landed on the street, where he was pronounced dead at the scene, Aurora police said. Devin, who was seated in the back of the Chevrolet Malibu, wasn’t wearing a seat belt, Lt. Pete Inda said.
Investigators speculate the four teens were “joy-riding or pulling some type of prank,” Inda said. Police have heard, but not confirmed, rumors the teens may have been out smashing pumpkins.
Excessive speed is believed to be factor in the crash, which occurred at 1:43 a.m. on the 2700 block of Hamman Way, police said. The teens were traveling north on Stonebridge Boulevard near Granger Middle School when the car went over the curb and rumbled through a backyard, leading to the house’s attached garage.
The driver, whom police did not identify, also is 15 and was treated for minor injuries at the hospital. The two other 15-year-old passengers had minor injuries but didn’t require treatment.
No one was injured inside the house.
The driver was questioned by police and later released. No charges or citations have been filed, but the probe is continuing.
“We want to complete a thorough investigation into this,” Inda said. “At that point we’ll determine if any charges should be filed.”
The four teens were riding in a Malibu owned by the parents of the driver, who has a driver’s permit but not a valid license, Inda said.
There’s no indication drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash, he said. Results of toxicology tests are expected in a few weeks.
The homeowner, Hari Chandra, said he, his wife and two children awoke when they heard what “sounded like someone set off a bomb.”
At first, he said he didn’t realize a car had struck the house, but then he went outside to see the heavily damaged vehicle. The three teens who survived were ringing doorbells and alerting neighbors to the crash.
“I think they felt it on their conscience,” Chandra said.
Friends and classmates of the teens placed bouquets of flowers at the scene Tuesday, with many crying and comforting each other. They described Devin as an outgoing and popular student — a track and field sprinter and wide receiver who wore number 30 on the football team and was excited to be on the varsity next year.
Head varsity football coach Ben Kleinhans said players gathered Tuesday morning for a team meeting, many of them “shaken up right now and figuring out how to deal with it.”
“Not only was he an outstanding student-athlete, but he was an even better teammate and friend,” Kleinhans said.
Marcus Render, 17, a senior at Metea Valley, said Devin came to his house at least once a week to play basketball. He said he saw him Sunday working out at an XSport Fitness.
Students at Metea Valley heard of Devin’s death during first-period announcements.
“We were in complete shock,” said Haley Wentz, 16, a junior at Metea Valley. “It was the loudest silence I ever heard.”
Principal Jim Schmid said in a statement on the school’s website that Indian Prairie Unit District 204’s crisis team is in place to support students and will “remain in place for as long as necessary as students work through their feelings and grief.”
A prayer service for Devin is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Faith Lutheran Church, 3000 Liberty St., in Aurora.
Ÿ Daily Herald staff writer Lee Filas contributed to this report.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.