Trio of Hancock Students Dead in Wreck Mourned at Vigil

NEW MANCHESTER – Choking back tears, Betty Kubiskey expressed disbelief that the girl her son dated for more than two years was one of the three Oak Glen High School students who lost their lives following a Saturday traffic accident on W.Va. 8.

Kubiskey joined hundreds for a candlelight vigil at Tomlinson Run State Park Monday to honor the memories of Kaylin Rice, 16, of Chester; Kristyn Butcher, 16, of Newell; and John Emmett Snow III, 16, of New Cumberland. Butcher and Rice were juniors at OGHS, while Snow was a sophomore.

The crowd was so large that Hancock County Sheriff’s deputies needed to direct traffic as mourners entered the park grounds. Men and women of all ages openly wept as they remembered the lost teenagers.

“She was just at my house on Wednesday,” Kubiskey said of Rice. “This is just awful. It is unimaginable.”

Also among those expressing support were New Cumberland resident Kim Cool and her children, OGHS freshman Stevie Cool and senior Jacklynn Cool, as well as senior Rachelle Woofter.

“I played softball with her,” Jacklynn Cool said of Rice.

“It’s shocking,” added Kim Cool.

During the approximately 30-minute event, the Rev. Tom Fletcher of New Cumberland Family Life Church of the Nazarene led the mourners in prayer.

“Death steals us away from our dreams and our hopes,” he said. “What we really need is comfort. God is here to comfort us.”

The crash occurred at 9 p.m. Saturday near the W.Va. 8 entrance to the park. The New Manchester Volunteer Fire Department had received a report of a chimney fire. The fire truck then collided with the vehicle carrying the teenagers, according to Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher.

Butcher and Rice were pronounced dead at the scene, while Snow later succumbed to his injuries at East Liverpool Hospital. Three of the six New Manchester volunteer firefighters were taken to Weirton Medical Center for injuries suffered in the accident and were released.