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2d senior at school is killed in crash

Moorestown High's Eric Messick was riding in a car hit head-on in Southampton. A classmate had died less than a week earlier.

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

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

Another car hit theirs moments later, flipping it onto its roof, state police said.

Last Sunday, Moorestown senior Evan M. Welch was killed when the car in which he was a passenger veered off a Moorestown 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 said Jesse Johns, 30, of Little Egg Harbor, N.J., was driving east on Route 38 near Route 206 about 9:30 p.m. Friday when he tried to pass another vehicle. Johns evidently veered across the double line into the westbound lane, where Messick and driver Thomas McCue were traveling.

The accident was under investigation, a state trooper at the Red Lion barracks said yesterday. No information was available on whether any of the drivers were intoxicated or whether Messick was wearing a seat belt.

McCue, 18, graduated from Moorestown High in June. He and Johns were airlifted to Cooper University Hospital in Camden. The driver of the other car that struck McCue's vehicle was taken to Virtua Memorial Hospital Burlington County in Mount Holly. No additional information was available.

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

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

He said that 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."

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