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Boy, 14, dies after Quarry Ridge accident

By Staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A 14-year-old Charleston boy died in a car accident Sunday when a vehicle operated by a teen driver with a learner's permit crashed, police say.

Police have not identified the victim but several people have identified him as freshman Drew Morton, a member of the George Washington High School football team.

Police responded to the crash on Quarry Ridge Road in Kanawha City at 11:18 a.m. Sunday to find a 2006 Lexus convertible coupe on its top over the hillside, according to a release from the Charleston Police Department.

Officers determined the driver lost control of the car, struck a pole and a tree before the car rolled over the hillside and ejected the passenger.

The driver, who police have not identified, did not have any visible injuries, according to police. The driver has a learner's permit, not a driver's license, Lt. Shawn Williams of the Charleston Police Department, said.

Morton later died from his injuries at CAMC.

Police say speed was a factor in the crash.

Under state law, drivers with learner's permits must have a licensed driver in the vehicle, though none were in the vehicle with Morton and the driver. State law also requires drivers with learner's permits and their passengers to wear seatbelts.

The driver might face charges, Williams said.

"We're going to consult with the prosecutors office," Williams said. "As soon as we can get with the prosecutor, we should know more."

Hundreds of students and community members gathered on George Washington High School's football field for a candlelight vigil in Morton's honor Sunday evening.

Steve Edwards Jr., the football coach for George Washington, said the turnout was no surprise.

"We're a close-knit family," a tearful Edwards said. "We talk about family all the time and this is what family does. They come to your aid in a time of need."

Edwards described the football player as a great young man.

"[He was} a very happy young man," Edwards said. "Always ready for a joke, a laugh."

Morton's friends and classmates remember him as funny and friendly.

"He was funny -- a class clown," ninth grader Chris Gandy said of Morton. "I wish the family the best of luck. It's a tragic event."

Sofia DiTrapano, an eighth-grade student at John Adams Middle School, said, "he was really funny and sweet .. It doesn't feel real -- like he's actually gone."

Autumn Fockler, a 17-year-old George Washington student, said Morton was a friend to everyone and kept people laughing.

"He always made me laugh," she said. "He was a great kid."

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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