CINCINNATI — Days after 16-year-old Amari Kelley died in a car crash, classmates showed their love and support on Northwest High School's campus.
Cincinnati police said Kelley died in a crash in the 2300 block of West North Bend Road at around 5:20 a.m. Saturday. Investigators said an 18-year-old driving a Kia Optima lost control of the vehicle, crossing the centerline and hitting a Honda Accord driven by a 28-year-old man.
Kelley, a backseat passenger in the Kia, was pronounced dead at the scene. A 13-year-old passenger and both drivers were also taken to UC Medical Center. All are expected to recover. Investigators said both teenagers were not wearing seat belts, while both drivers were.
"It's been really hard," said Margaret Adams, Kelley's mother. "I really miss him and I want him back, but unfortunately, he won't be back, but just the support everyone's shown us has been tremendous in helping us get by."
In a statement, Northwest High School said students gathered to put "We Love Amari" on the gate that sits in front of the school. The school's student senate also created a banner for people to sign and leave messages of support to Kelley's family. Students and staff members across the district are wearing blue all week.
"It's been extremely encouraging to see our students and staff pull together to support each other during such a difficult time," Principal Joe Pollitt said. "We're a very tight knit school community and I'm very proud of the way that our students, especially our juniors, have taken the lead in finding ways to honor Amari and his memory. While news like this is always difficult to hear and face, it's comforting to know that Amari has left such a lasting impact on so many of us. He will truly be missed."
Adams said her son was a loving kid who played football and basketball.
"His father passed about six years ago and we just wanted to make him proud, so everything he did every day was to make his dad proud and to make him smile from heaven," Adams said. "And now my son is up in heaven with his father."
The school is also handing out blue ribbons to students and staff to wear for the rest of the week.
"This right here, the support that we get from a school just shows how much he was loved like it touched my heart," Adams said. "I didn't even know they did this. I just rode past the school and saw this and it showed me how much a mind was loved."
Speed nor impairment are not believed to be factors in the crash, Cincinnati police said.