s For the second time in a week a deadly auto accident has claimed the life of a Moorestown High School senior.

Eric Messick, 17, was pronounced dead at the scene in Southampton on Friday night when the car in which he was riding with a friend on Route 38 was struck head-on at high speed.

Their car was hit moments late by another car, flipping it onto its roof, according to state police.

Last Sunday, Moorestown senior Evan M. Welch was killed when the car in which he was a passenger veered off the road and struck a tree. Police found numerous bottles of beer in the car and charged the driver, 18-year-old Daniel Friedman, with drunken and reckless driving.

Police say Jesse Johns, 30, of Little Egg Harbor, was driving eastbound on Route 38 near Route 206 at about 9:30 p.m. Friday when he tried to pass another vehicle. Johns evidently veered across the double-line and into the westbound lane where Messick and his friend, Thomas McCue, were traveling.

A state trooper at the Red Lion state police barracks said the accident was under investigation. Information was not available tonight as to whether any of the drivers were intoxicated or if Messick was wearing a seatbelt.

McCue, 18, is a June graduate of Moorestown High. He and Johns were airlifted to Cooper University Hospital in Camden. The driver of the other car that struck their vehicle was taken to Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly.

Moorestown High School issued a statement today saying it was "deeply saddened" by Messick's death and extended its sympathy to the boy's family and friends. The school will provide counselors to students affected by the loss.

Scott Palombo, president of the senior class, said Messick came to the school in his sophomore year and had a small circle of friends.

He said Welch's death had "brought us closer together, even though it was very sad," but that Messick's death just days later "has everyone scared and freaked out.

"Lot of us are asking if there's something going on, something we can do."

Contact staff writer David O'Reilly at 215-854-5723 or doreilly@phillynews.com

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