Shortly after 2 am on Saturday, there was a fatal two-car crash on the inner loop of the Capital Beltway.
Five teenagers in a Honda Accord had to pull over to the side of the road because their car ran out of gas. Four of the teens were students at Gonzaga High School; the other was from St. John’s. While they sat in their car on the shoulder waiting for help, their car was struck by a Jeep Compass which had veered off the road. Dominik Liam Pettey, 17, of Potomac, was sitting in the back. He died. Three of his friends suffered injuries.
According to NBC Washington, the driver of the jeep displayed signs of being impaired. Charges are pending.
Pettey, known as Dom, was a hockey player at Gonzaga High School, an all-boys’ Catholic school in Northwest D.C.
“He was one of those guys that walked into a rink and immediately you’re just drawn to him,” said Pettey’s former coach Duante’ Abercrombie to NBC 4’s Kristin Wright.
One of the passengers posted on Facebook on Monday:
“Today was the saddest and happiest day of my life. Wrapping my mind around the incident on Friday night is not something I’m able to do yet. At some moments I feel fine, and at some moments it hits me, drills me rather. It’s not something that I will ever get over in my entire life, knowing that a good friend passed away, two seats away from me. Dom was a great guy. I can’t think of one time he wasn’t bringing everyone’s spirits up, whether it was through his goofy smile that he never took off his face, or his feathery mullet that he took so much care of. If I didn’t have the Gonzaga community to wrap their arms around me, I don’t know what I would do. The love of your family is beautiful, but the love that your Gonzaga brothers can give you is something else, something that your family is unable to offer. If I wanted to cry today, they cried with me. If I wanted to laugh today, they laughed with me. Dom was a truly influential person, and I will try my hardest to live my life like he did. I’m doing it all for you Dom from now on, it’s all for you.”
Losing a friend at a young age is devastating, gut-wrenching, and confusing. During my college years, one of my close childhood friends, David Smith, died in Afghanistan after injuries he suffered from a suicide bomber attack. My favorite Dave story was from second grade when we attended Ballenger Creek Elementary School. We were all playing soccer outside during recess with some fourth and fifth graders. When I was going in for a goal, I took a shot on net and hit a fifth grader right in the side of the head, bloodying him. He cursed at me and came over to punch me out. Dave stepped in: he ran over, tackled the kid, and fought him. Twenty years later he died protecting our country.
Maybe the best way you can honor someone is to remember them.
Life can be difficult and hard to understand in times like this. To everyone at Gonzaga, we’ll be thinking about you all week.
Tonight, all our coverage is dedicated to you guys and the Pettey family. Let’s hope the Caps get a win.
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