While Surrattsville High School principal Kristi Holden was watching seniors receive awards during an end-of-year ceremony, she said she received startling news that a junior at the school was killed in a car crash nearby.
Delante Clark, Jr., 17, of the 10800 block of Slippery Elm Court in Clinton, died on impact when striking a tree off Brandywine Road around 3 p.m. Wednesday, Prince George’s police said.
Clark was driving his white Acura when, for unknown reasons, left the roadway and went into the tree line, said Cpl. McKinney, a county police spokesman.
McKinney said Clark was pronounced dead on scene. Police said Clark was found to have been wearing a seat belt.
A day after the fatal crash students and staff at Surrattsville were mourning the loss.
“I just know he was a nice young man with a quiet spirit. Kids loved him and teachers loved him and we’re all being affected by this,” Holden said, who said the school had grief counselors available for students Thursday.
Clark was in several advancement placement courses including AP biology and AP language. He was also a member of the school’s JROTC and played on the junior varsity football team for his first two years.
Holden said students made a large banner to memorialize Clark, decorated his locker in the school hallway and wrote sympathy letters that were delivered to Clark’s family later Thursday.
“He has a very supportive family both at home and here at school,” Holden said, who said the school community will take part in funeral services when they are scheduled.
Holden said Clark’s younger brother, a sophomore at Surrattsville, attended school Thursday to “try and stay focused, and to keep his mind off of what was going on.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the county police department’s collision analysis and reconstruction unit were still trying to determine why Clark left the roadway and if speed or alcohol were factors. Police said weather was not a factor though rain showers were forecasted throughout Wednesday.
“It’s all part of investigation as far as cause of crash,” said Charnay Anderson, a spokeswoman for the department.
A phone number for Clark’s residence could not be located.