3 High School Hockey Players Killed

Monday, February 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — A car carrying five high school athletes slammed into trees after speeding through an intersection, killing three members of the hockey team, authorities said.

The players, from Cleveland Heights High School, were heading home early Sunday after visiting friends. The car was going more than 60 mph in a 35 mph zone and was changing lanes just before the crash, police said.

The car went through an intersection before it hit a group of trees, Shaker Heights Fire Lt. Patrick Sweeney said.

None of the five teens was wearing a seat belt, police Chief Walter Ugrinic said. He said speed contributed to the accident and tests were ordered to determine if alcohol was involved.

The driver, Brendon Benner, 18, and Kyle Barden, 16, were pronounced dead at the scene. Milton Carter Jr., 18, died about eight hours later after being taken off life support, his father said. Carter's neck was broken and doctors said he would have remained in a coma had he lived.

Greg Uguccini, 15, also a member of the hockey team, was in critical condition Monday at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital. Scott Greggor, who plays on the soccer team, was treated and released from Hillcrest Hospital.

``Hardworking, good kids, loyal to their friends and the team and the coaching staff,'' said Kirk Guenther, the school's hockey coach. ``They're three kids that will be missed from the bottom of the hearts of everyone.''

At the accident scene, where shattered bits of glass, mirror and headlights littered the ground, friends of the three boys killed gathered Sunday to leave hockey pucks, jerseys, flowers and notes.

The team's first-round state qualifying tournament game Monday against Benedictine High School has been postponed. A crisis team met with students and teachers.

``It's quiet, it's somber,'' Cleveland Heights-University Heights Superintendent Paul Masem said. ``There's a lot of crying and hugging — the normal kind of thing when this kind of crisis occurs. Kids are looking for answers. I'm not sure there are a lot of answers.''