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Hollis teen mourned after fatal crash on turnpike

HOLLIS — Classmates and teammates of Cameron Ricard said the young man would be remembered for his zestful approach to the things he loved best.

"His greatest passions were hockey, lacrosse and his truck," said John Moody, interim superintendent of the Hollis Brookline School District.

Ricard, 17, died Monday night after crashing his Nissan Titan pickup truck on the ice-covered Everett Turnpike. State police arrived at the crash shortly before 10:30 p.m.

The pickup truck is believed to have slid on black ice, busting through a guardrail and rolling over several times before coming to rest on the Exit 1 ramp. Police said Ricard appears to have been killed instantly in the crash and alcohol wasn't a factor.

The Hollis Brookline High School senior's death has been another devastating blow to a closely-knit school community that's coped with a number of losses over the past several months.

Moody said two former students had died earlier this year, and several staff members were also mourning the loss of family members.

"There's a cumulative affect from the compounding of yet another tragedy," Moody said Tuesday afternoon. "You walk through the hallways and you can see the devastation written on the faces of our students, our staff members."

Interim Principal Richard Barnes described Ricard as "a really nice kid, one who was passionate about dirt-bikes and trucks."

"He was just a funny, fun-loving and loyal person who was also a great athlete," Barnes said Tuesday evening.

Tuesday was a difficult day at the high school, with most students just learning of Ricard's death upon walking through the doors early that morning.

"These kids are just absolutely stunned right now," Barnes said. "This is someone they knew, that many were close to. This is someone they saw in the hallways each day and now he's not there."

Guidance staff at the high school met with students and teachers early Tuesday morning to offer support to those affected by Ricard's death.

The high school stayed open late Tuesday evening for those seeking counseling and on Wednesday, a planned early release day for a scheduled teachers' workshop, district officials are bringing in a crisis intervention team to offer additional assistance.Moody said he's visited three of the district's schools on Tuesday where he extended offers of services to those who'd previously worked with Ricard, who played lacrosse and hockey throughout his childhood in Hollis.

"Cameron's reach was well beyond his day-to-day school life and we all depend on one another here," Moody said. "This is such a kind and caring community, but we realize everyone grieves differently."

Moody said a possible school-wide memorial service for Ricard would be explored, pending the wishes of Ricard's family members.

"We really need to respect their wishes and their privacy right now," the superintendent said. "This has been totally heartbreaking for all of us."

Those who witnessed Monday night's fatal crash or have any additional information are encouraged to contact State Police Troop B at 666-3333.

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