Local News

Northwood High student's death shocks, saddens classmates

Posted October 25, 2021 11:41 a.m. EDT
Updated October 26, 2021 12:12 a.m. EDT

— Family. friends and classmates are grieving after a well-liked and respected Northwood High School student died over the weekend.

Bryan Vilchis was killed and a second student was seriously injured in a Saturday night crash, authorities said Monday.

Vilchis was just 18 years old. The injured student was identified as 16-year-old sophomore Desmond Patterson, who officials said was in critical condition at an area hospital.

"He's definitely still in my mind, he always will be," said Northwood student Charlotte Cox of Vilchis. "I was at work [when I found out]. I just started bawling. I didn't want to believe it."

The crash occurred on Old Graham Road, where investigators said Vilchis was driving up to 90 miles per hour. He ran off the road, crossed the center line, overcorrected and hit a tree. Flowers, crosses and a teddy bear sat at the site of the crash on Monday.

"They're both in my English class," said Northwood student Mary Daiker. "I couldn't believe it. It was a really big shock."

“My heart aches for these families,” Superintendent Anthony Jackson said in a statement. “We mourn with the Northwood community the loss of a vibrant young life.”

School social workers and counselors were available at Northwood High on Monday to offer support to staff and students.

“These young men are part of our school family,” Principal Bradford Walston said in a statement. “Our hearts are with their families during this incredibly difficult time. We want to support them and support our students through this.”

Chatham County Schools Public Information Officer Nancy Wykle said she hopes the tragedy teaches students and new drivers in the area to be more cautious on the roads.

"Our goal is to keep them safe and ensure they are practicing good safety skills whenever they are driving," Wykle said.

The school is planning to honor Vilchis with a ballon release at Friday's football game.

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