Community mourning two students killed in weekend crash

HAMILTON, Ohio -- Friends and family gathered at Queen of Peace Catholic Church Wednesday to pay their respects and give final farewells to a University of Cincinnati football player who died on Saturday in a car crash.

Flick, a recent graduate of Hamilton High School and a football player at the University of Cincinnati, was one of four college freshmen involved in the crash that happened on Stahlheber Road in Hanover Township at about 10:20 p.m. Saturday.

Sean VanDyne, Flick’s childhood friend and the driver of the vehicle, died from his injuries late Monday night at University of Cincinnati Medical Center. UC football players Mark Barr and Javon Harrison were also passengers in VanDyne's 2009 Chevrolet at the time of the crash.

Barr still remains in critical condition at UCMC. Harrison was treated and released from the hospital Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Flick’s family and close friends, were also met with an outpouring of support during a ceremony at Hamliton High School where he played. Busses carrying UC football players dropped off Flick's former teammates who also wanted to pay their respects.

"I think one of the really neat things about our community is that we do come together when tragedy strikes,” Flick's high school line coach Brad Watkins said. “It’s something that Hamilton prides itself on.”

Preston McIntosh, a senior at Hamilton High School who used to play football with Flick, was one of the hundreds of people who attended the memorial service. McIntosh said it was Flick's dream to play football for the UC Bearcats.

"I'm pretty sure he's looking down on us. He has the personality of a million angels. You never know which one you're gonna get," said McIntosh.

McIntosh said Flick wanted him to attend UC after high school. McIntosh now wants to fulfill Flick's dream.

"I'm trying to do everything I can in my power to make it up there."

Miami University President David Hodge said the entire community has been hit extremely hard by the deaths of VanDyne and Flick.

“We will miss them, and offer our deepest condolences to their families and friends," Hodge said. "The loss of a student is so hard to bear. Our hearts go out to the many members of their families and communities who are mourning this loss together, as are we."

During the weekend crash, two people were thrown from the vehicle and two were trapped when crews arrived at the scene.

Flick, who was a freshman offensive lineman, was pronounced dead at the crash.

Officials said Flick, Barr, and Harrison had attended the annual UC and Miami football game earlier in the evening.

VanDyne's mother, Lynn, said her son and Flick were longtime friends.

“Words cannot express the sense of sorrow at the unimaginable tragic loss of our son,” she said. “My heart breaks for all the boys and their families, especially Ben’s. He and Sean were best friends since the second grade. They were like brothers.”

Another close friend of VanDyne’s, Tyler Jones said he will try to carry on and try to live a little extra for his friend.

"I'm not really sure I know I can,” Jones said. “It's going to be hard living without them -- these two great guys."

VanDyne's family said he was newly married to his girlfriend Rachel, whom he had dated since the seventh grade. They wedded on Aug. 17, 2013.

“If anyone ever had a problem, they would call Sean. That’s just how he was," Rachel said of her husband.

Family members said VanDyne had plans to attend law school after graduation and become an FBI agent.

"Young men (at the) prime of their life, best friends since forever and to think that this would happen after all the exuberance of having the football game -- it just adds to the sadness that we all feel," Hodge said.

The finality hit home Tuesday evening as Flick’s casket was brought into his former high school.

“I guess the best piece of advice is to find your neighbor and hold them a little tighter,” Flick’s former coach Watkins said at the gathering. “I think a community has responded well and this is a testament to that."

VanDyne’s funeral plans have not yet been released.

Butler County Sheriff's Office indicated alcohol may have played a factor in the incident. The Butler County Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team continues to investigate the cause of the crash.

Emily Maxwell, WCPO and Amy Wadas, WCPO contributed to this report.

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