Two Bartram Trail High School students were involved in a roll over crash in St. Johns County just before noon Wednesday. Investigators said 16-year-old Aubrey Thompson is fighting for his life at UF Health in Jacksonville after he was thrown from the truck he was riding in with long-time friend, 16-year-old, Dylan Shaw.
Deputies were called to the crash on Longleaf Pine Parkway near Orange Branch Trail at 11:25 a.m.
Shaw, who was driving the pickup truck, was transported to Baptist Medical Center South with non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities said Shaw was wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident, but Thompson was not.
Investigators said Shaw lost control of the truck causing it to flip twice. Friends and teammates of the two teens were at Bartram Trail High School Wednesday night trying to make sense of the accident.
“He is a leader,” said the head football coach at Bartram, Darrell Sutherland, speaking about Thompson. “Just a fantastic young man, one of the hardest working young men I’ve ever been around.”
Sutherland called a special team meeting before practice Wednesday to discuss the accident with the team.
“He’s awesome, a great teammate. One of the best on the team,” said friend Bryce Walker. Thompson's teammates and coach had much praise and big fears for their friend they hope makes a full recovery.
"You just wake up one morning and you don’t think you’re going to hear something like this has happened to someone you were laughing and shaking hands with,” said teammate Chad Shaw.
Deputies said the preliminary investigation revealed that speed was a factor.
“The skid marks, the distance, the vault patterns of the traffic crash tell us that we’re looking at a minimum speed of 80-miles-per-hour,” said St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Commander Chuck Mulligan.
Deputies said the pickup was racing another vehicle at the time of the crash.
Aubrey's teammates are planning to put his number 17 - somewhere on their uniforms or helmets for this Friday's game. Dylan Shaw, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the crash, is recovering from his injuries at Baptist South.
Investigators said charges are pending.