Teen crashes car and dies on the way to school - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Teen crashes car and dies on the way to school

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September 16, 2003

Lee County - A popular Lee County student was killed in a car wreck Tuesday morning. The High School Junior lost control of his car on a road near Highway 82 in western Lee County, ran off the road and crashed into a tree. His friends are mourning his death.

Sixteen-year-old John DiPietro was driving a Pontiac Firebird to school. His friend, Marc Harris looks at the car and says, "John was one of the friendliest persons I've known. He was like my little brother."

Harris heard the bad news and like other teens, he wanted to see the wrecked car. Harris adds, "Not words to describe it. Its hard to picture your best friend inside that."

The Lee County High School Junior lost control of his car, overturned down an embankment on Oakland Plantation Road and the top of his car wrapped around trees. He died at the scene. Albany Community Hospice Counselor, Clare Stoeckel, says, "Everybody grieves differently. No two people are the same."

Twenty counselors were on hand at school. Stoeckel adds, "Those of us who were counselors kind of milled around handed out tissues seeing who wanted to talk and who wanted to be left alone."

Friends of DiPietro placed roses at the crash site, many thinking about John's older brother Joe. Joe is usually in the car with John. Lee County High School Principal, Bill Truby, says, "He [Joe] went home ill yesterday and he would normally be on his way to school at the same time as well."

The school lowered the flag to half staff and a memorial banner was put up. Harris says, "We all know he's in a better place. He will be missed and the world will be a lesser place without him."

John DiPietro was on the wrestling team and a former football player. His friends say he was a person anyone could get along with.

Counselors say students are in the shock phase, crying, shaking and wanting to be alone, which are all normal. Parents should initiate conversations with their teenagers or get them to talk to other students about their loss.

posted at 6:03PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com