A Bohemia teen in Florida on spring break was killed and a Blue Point teen was seriously injured in a two-car wreck in the Orlando area, law enforcement and school officials said Saturday.
Michael Friscia, 14, a Connetquot High School freshman, was thrown Thursday night from a 2019 Chrysler Pacifica as it overturned after a collision on State Road 417 in Orange County. He was declared dead at the scene, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The crash occurred around 9:45 p.m. as Joel Polanco Sanchez, 29, of Kissimmee, was driving a 2007 Nissan Maxima south in the left lane and changed lanes, colliding with the Pacifica, also traveling south in the right lane, being driven by Todd Furchert, 47, of Blue Point, police said.
Witnesses told police that both vehicles went onto the shoulder while the Pacifica hit the guardrail and overturned, killing Friscia and injuring Furchert's daughter, Alyssia Furchert, 15, who is in serious condition, Lt. Kim Montes, a Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman, said Saturday.
Three other passengers in the Pacifica, all members of the Furchert family, were injured and taken to a hospital for treatment, according to Highway Patrol.
Todd Furchert was treated for injuries at the scene while Sanchez was taken to Orlando Health hospital with minor injuries, police said.
Montes said troopers suspect Sanchez was impaired and have obtained a blood sample for testing.
Charges against Sanchez, she said, are pending and the investigation is continuing.
Connequot High Principal Kenneth Costa said in an email to the school community Saturday that when students return from spring break on Monday the library will be converted to a crisis center to be staffed with social workers, psychologists and guidance counselors available "for anyone needing support, guidance or a space to grieve during the school day."
"Together, we are here to support our Connetquot families as we all remember Michael and hold his family and friends in our deepest thoughts and prayers," the principal said.
That support will be provided as long as necessary, Costa said.
"The loss of someone so young can have a profound effect on individuals in many different ways," Costa said. "As such, I encourage those who are struggling with this devastating information to visit our crisis center and speak with our trained professionals as often and regular as necessary."
Michael's death was the second tragedy to befall the Connetquot community during spring break.
Jon-Michael Lasher, the district's director of music and fine arts, died Monday at age 45 after a decade of living with brain cancer. District officials called him a "champion for music and fine arts education" with an "unmatched dedication" to his students and colleagues.