2021 | Schools

UPDATED: Two Walter Johnson High School seniors killed in West Virginia crash

Two others seriously injured, according to principal

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Walter Johnson HS

Walter Johnson High School

via MCPS

This story was updated at 6:45 p.m. on June 10, 2021, to include comments from Pat O’Neill. It also was updated at 10:10 a.m. on June 11, 2021, to include the identity of one of the victims.

Two Walter Johnson High School seniors were killed in a car crash on Wednesday night, less than a week after graduating. Two other students were seriously injured.

In a message to the community Thursday morning, Walter Johnson Principal Jennifer Baker wrote that two seniors died in a crash in West Virginia and two others were seriously injured. She wrote: “Our hearts are broken.”

“Please know that our WJ community is strong and we are here for everyone in this difficult time,” she wrote.

The message did not identify the students.

In a heartfelt Facebook post, however, Troy Smith wrote that his son, Jaidon, was killed in the crash.

He wrote that the students were traveling to a post-graduation trip when the crash happened.

“He was the most amazing kid a parent could ask for,” Smith wrote. “We will miss him so much more than words can express.”

In a later post, Smith wrote that the family has established a scholarship fund in Jaidon’s honor.

The family held a funeral for Jaidon on Friday morning.

Walter Johnson’s graduation ceremony was held on June 4.

WHSV-TV3, a West Virginia television station, posted a news story on Wednesday evening about a crash in Hardy County that killed two people and injured two others.

According to the report, the crash happened around 7 p.m. and weather “is being considered as a possible factor in the crash because of rain in the area around the time of the crash.”

Nobody was identified in the report.

A West Virginia State Police spokesperson told Bethesda Beat there were no other reported double-fatal car crashes in the state on Wednesday. No other information was immediately available.

In-person and virtual grief counseling was available for Walter Johnson students on Thursday, according to Baker’s message.

In an interview on Thursday afternoon, school board member Pat O’Neill said she was notified of the deaths early Thursday morning and “it just broke my heart.”

“I feel so badly for the parents, the families and the young people’s friends,” said O’Neill, a graduate of Walter Johnson. “I was driving home today and thinking about how I just stood on the stage on Friday for these kids’ graduation. This is a terrible tragedy.”

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com