Kaneland High mourns deaths of two students killed in crash
The Kane County Sheriff's Office and the Kane County Accident Reconstruction Team continue to investigate the crash, which killed Arthur Stenger, a 16-year-old from Montgomery, and Elijah Vajgert, a 16-year-old from Maple Park. Both were juniors at Kaneland High, Kaneland District 302 Superintendent Todd Leden said Sunday.
"Tomorrow at (school) full crisis management teams will be ready to support our students and staff as needed," Leden said. "Unfortunately, both of the families experienced a tragic loss with their boys dying in the car accident. We ask everyone be sensitive to both families and their wishes and support them."
Leden informed Kaneland students and parents about the boys' deaths in an email Sunday.
"The Kaneland community takes care of each other, and hopefully we can get through this difficult time," he added.
The boys were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which occurred about 5 p.m. Saturday near Meredith and Beith roads, located northwest of Elburn, Kane County Sheriff's officials said.
Arthur, the driver, and Elijah, the passenger, were westbound on Beith in a 2002 Chevrolet S-10 pickup that had stopped for the stop sign at intersection, authorities said. For an unknown reason, the truck then pulled into the intersection and was struck by a 1979 Peterbilt semi hauling corn southbound on Meredith Road, the sheriff's office said.
"Tragically, two 16-year-old boys lost their life yesterday, and the families and the community (is) pretty shaken up about it," Patrick Gengler, director of administration division for the Kane County Sheriff's Office, said Sunday.
Gengler noted that this is not the first driving tragedy involving Kaneland High in the last decade.
In 2008, 17-year-old students Blake Denton and Jeffrey Malewig were killed as they drove to the school, after Denton's 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix went off the road and hit a tree. Kristina Herber-Shures, the girlfriend of Vajgert family friend Mark Salemi, said Elijah enjoyed fishing and other outdoor activities on his family's property, which includes ponds. She described him as "a little quiet and very polite."
"He wasn't a rambunctious boy. Sweet. Maybe a little bit of a mama's boy," she said. "Very outdoorsy. Very into being outside and hunting and fishing and being out on that farm (the family property)."
Salemi said the teens were "both fine young men" and Elijah was a great student. Arthur, he added, was "like an adopted son" to Elijah's parents.