Updated 02/19/13 – 12:59 p.m.
ANTIOCH, Ill. (CBS) — Weather could be partially to blame for the deaths of two teenagers in a late night crash in far north suburban Antioch.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports 16-year-old Joel Wittkamp and 17-year-old Ashley Seay, died after the SUV they were in went off the road and hit a tree late Monday night.
Lake County Sheriff’s police said the accident happened around 7 p.m. on Wilmot Road near Lake Street.
Wittkamp was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer west on Wilmot Road when he lost control and hit a tree, which was uprooted in the crash, and landed on the SUV.
Both teens were pronounced dead at the scene.
The cause of the accident remained under investigation early Tuesday, but police said they believe weather conditions were a factor. High winds and blowing snow hampered visibility, and made many area roads slick overnight.
According to Wittkamp’s Facebook page, he and Seay were boyfriend and girlfriend.
On Twitter, their friends were offering condolences, with one of Seay’s friend writing, “You’re honestly such a beautiful funny girl, and I’ll never forget you.”
At the high schools they attended, the principals said there is a pall over the classrooms today; quiet, subdued, students with tears in their eyes.
Antioch Community High School principal John Whitehurst said students there described Wittkamp, a junior, as “a fun-loving, enjoyable person to be around.”
“He had a great sense of humor. He related well to the teachers and students. He was also a member of our football team. His coach says he was a hard worker. He was a defensive back,” Whitehurst said.
Lakes Community High School principal Steve Plank described Seay as “vibrant.”
“We’ve made our counselors available throughout the day to allow our students to grieve appropriately, and we’ve had qualified people who represent our student services faculty shadowing her classes, so that there isn’t that empty seat,” he said.
“It’s a life cut short,” he added, “and it’s very tragic.”