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Counselors to help Johnston County students deal with loss of classmates

Posted March 30, 2010 5:28 a.m. EDT
Updated March 30, 2010 2:01 p.m. EDT

— Grief counselors will be at West Johnston High on Tuesday helping students and faculty deal with the death of two students.

Christopher Paul Kosmos, 18, of Angier, and his girlfriend, Alissa Chenette, 16, of Clayton, died on Monday when their vehicle ran off a flooded road and overturned in a creek.

The vehicle hit standing water on Steel Bridge Road, near Lee Road, around 7 a.m. and swerved off the road, colliding with a ditch, said Sgt. Jorge Brewer with the state Highway Patrol. It landed upside down in a creek that was swollen with heavy rains.

Kosmos' body was found in the swamp about 150 feet from the vehicle. Chenette was found still belted into the SUV's passenger seat.

"It's like losing a member of your own family. So it will deeply impact this district," Johnston County Schools spokeswoman Terri Sessoms said.

Kosmos, a senior, had just become Tuba leader in the band. He had switched from bass clarinet because the band needed more tubas to go to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Chenette, a junior, was a member of the school's colorguard.

"Both loved their school and had a zest for life. Their cheerful smiles and greetings always brightened my day," principal Brookie Honeycutt said.

Neighbors said the creek the teens landed in rarely overflows, but overnight Sunday, four inches of rain fell fast.

"If it's dark and you're coming around the curve and down the hill, you can hit the water easily before you know it," local pastor David Sutphin said.