SOUTHBURY, Conn. — Pomperaug High School is finding ways to cope after a student was killed tragically Monday evening in a car crash, which also left another teen in critical condition.
The school was grieving the loss of 17-year-old Ryan Rutledge of Southbury and giving outpouring support for the family of 16-year-old Eva Houlihan of Woodbury, who was in the hospital.
A visitation vigil was held for the teenager at Sacred Heart Church in Southbury Thursday night.
Meanwhile, tributes of flowers were left on the bridge and heartfelt messages on the railing, where police said the car accident happened.
“Ryan is probably the most hard-working person that I have ever met,” said Pomperaug High School student Julia Cuda. “He’s dedicated to everything he does. He’s passionate. He’s like the nicest kid you would ever meet.”
Cuda said she was a friend of Ryan Rutledge and just getting to know Eva.
“It’s just really heartbreaking knowing that such a good person is no longer going to be walking around and smiling when you see them,” Cuda said.
Police said Rutledge’s Jeep Wrangler was traveling westbound on Roxbury Road, when it veered off the roadway, ran through a guardrail, down an embankment, and into the Pomperaug River.
The report said Rutledge and Houlihan were ejected from the car. Rutledge was deceased and Houlihan taken to Waterbury Hospital with serious injuries.
Pomperaug High School Principal Dr. Paul Jones said the school is providing support for the families of both students and counseling and support for students.
“We encourage our students to be together and to rely on us to help them and support them,” Jones said.
Rutledge was a sports star. He played on the varsity lacrosse team and on the school football team. Houlihan took part in various school activities.
“Our thoughts are with Eva Houlihan,” Jones said. “She’s right now in the hospital and still receiving treatment for her injuries.”
“She’s always a sweetheart,” Cuda said. “She’s outgoing and talkative.
Friends and family attended a visitation for Rutledge Thursday evening at Sacred Heart Church, in Southbury.
A mass will be held Friday at 1:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church and run by the Carpino Funeral Home.
Over $60,000 had been raised for Eva on a GoFundMe page as of Thursday evening.
This accident is under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Southbury Police.
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