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Students remember high school senior killed in auto accident

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BREESE, IL - A senior at Central High School in Breese, IL was killed in a car crash Monday morning.  17-year-old Avery Crist died when his vehicle struck a wet patch on Route 161 near Shoal Creek Rd., according to the Illinois State Police.

Investigators say Crist’s vehicle spun out and crossed the center lane crashing into another vehicle being driven by a 17-year-old with a 14-year-old passenger.  The driver and passenger in that car were hospitalized in serious condition and are expected to survive.

Crist was a football player and someone who earned the respect of this teammates.  He was a running back and defensive back.

“One of my first days of football he was one of the first seniors to talk to me and welcome me in,” said teammate Cobey O’Brien.  “You know, just made me feel like I was part of the family.”

O’Brien said varsity football players were told to go to the locker room during their second hour of school and were notified about the crash. Crist was driving to school when he crashed.  Some students left school early because they were shaken by the news.  Some students stayed and observed a moment of silence.

“He was one of the hardest working kids I knew,” said O’Brien.  “He would do anything for anyone.”

Shawnee Zimmer is a recent graduate of Central High School.  She said the community will rally behind Crist’s family and do whatever they can to help.

“People are going to be praying for them and people will help,” she said.

O’Brien said his message to anyone mourning this loss is to stay strong and remember the good times.

Crist was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, according to the Illinois State Police.