VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Police arrested a truck driver Friday evening following a two-vehicle crash that killed one teenager and left another critically injured.
Officers got called to the 2400 block of Indian River Road, near West Neck, around 3:20 p.m.
Police say a preliminary investigation found the driver of a delivery truck lost control, over-corrected, crossed the center line and hit a small SUV traveling west on Indian River Road.
Friends say Kaitlyn Duffy and Sabrina Mundorff, seniors at Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, were in the SUV at the time. Police say the driver, Kaitlyn Duffy, died at the scene and the passenger, Sabrina Mundorff, got airlifted to the hospital in critical condition. Both were wearing seat belts, according to police.
“They are both really good girls,” said classmate and friend Haley Pitscheneder. “It’s hard. It’s a very tragic loss.”
Police say the truck driver, 31-year-old Jerode Demetrius Johnson, suffered a minor injury and was taken into custody at the scene. Another man was in the box truck at the time of the crash, and was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, police say.
Johnson was later charged with involuntary manslaughter, maiming as a result of DUI, felony hit and run resulting in a death, DUI first offense and driving on a suspended operator’s license.
“He just took away an innocent girl’s life and ruined probably the other girl’s life forever,” said Pitscheneder.
Pitscheneder says Duffy was set to graduate on June 16 and had planned on attending Virginia Tech in the fall.
“She’s amazing,” said Pitscheneder. “Great personality, always there for everybody. She just had a heart of gold.”
Robin Wilkerson has lived on the narrow stretch of Indian River for 20 years. She watched Friday afternoon as the passenger of the SUV was flown to the hospital.
“There is a bad curve right where that took place,” said Wilkerson. “There have been a couple priors where there have been fatalities there before. It’s just a very narrow road, and there’s no space if someone were to veer into the lane. There’s really nowhere to go.”
Classmates who gathered outside the emergency room Friday say they are heartbroken for one family and remaining optimistic for another.
“They have so many friends,” said Pitscheneder. “Everybody loves them. School is not going to be the same without them …Graduation was something to look forward to, now it’s like you never know what’s going to happen.”
Today, we are all Wildcats. pic.twitter.com/GxuFGqV49m
— Kellam High School (@KellamHigh) May 20, 2017
The crash remains under investigation.