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Two Bennett high schoolers dead, three others injured in crash

Two Bennett high schoolers dead, three others injured in crash
By TOM MCGHEE | Special to The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: January 25, 2017 at 11:11 am | UPDATED: January 25, 2017 at 8:12 pm

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Five Bennett High School students who cut class on Tuesday were involved in a car crash that killed two and left three seriously injured before the end of the school day.

The Adams County Coroner hasn’t released the names of the two students who died. Injured in the wreck on East 38th Avenue near Penrith Road, were sophomore James Dickerson, 16, freshman, Ciara Bingham, 15, and senior Clifford Malachi, said Robin Purdy, superintendent of the Bennett school district.

The two dead are both boys, said Trooper Nate Reid, Colorado State Patrol spokesman.

“I believe they are very good friends,” Purdy said Wednesday.

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“As some know by now, our son, Malachi Clifford, has been in a very serious car accident,” Amanda Williams, Malachi’s mother, said on Facebook late Tuesday.

“He’s been in the operating room for over four hours and in critical condition. We have very little to new information at this time. Positive thoughts please for our family and the other five who were involved.”

She couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

According to Malachi’s Facebook page, the Denver resident works at The Cheesecake Factory.

The mood at the school is somber, Purdy said, and Colorado State Patrol victims’ advocates, school counselors and mental health counselors from East Central Behavioral Health are on hand to talk to students.

The students in the crash left the school shortly after the eighth period started at 3:10 p.m. The school day ends at 4:05 p.m.

“We’re not sure what they were doing,” Purdy said. “We don’t believe they lived in the area where the accident happened.”

The crash happened before 4 p.m., about one-half mile east of North Harback Road, when the 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer one of boys was driving left the road and rolled multiple times before coming to rest in a field, Reid said.

Three passengers riding in the rear seat were ejected from the vehicle, and all were seriously injured.

One person was taken by helicopter to University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora. Two others were taken by ambulance to the same hospital, Reid said.

Neither drugs nor alcohol appear to be factors. Excessive speed is a likely factor, Reid said.

The crash is under investigation.