'Remarkable' High School Football Player, Who Had Just Accepted College Scholarship, Dies in Crash

"We lost an amazing person, but we gained an angel who will be with us always," school officials wrote of Jaylon Connish, 17, who was killed in a crash that also injured two of his teammates

Jaylon Connish
Jaylon Connish. Photo: Facebook

A California student athlete is being remembered as a "remarkable" young man on and off the field.

Warren High School student Jaylon Connish, 17, was identified by school officials as one of the victims in a fatal car accident that took place on Saturday night. Two other members of the school's football team were also injured.

The crash occurred around 10:45 p.m. on Interstate 5, according to a California Highway Patrol news release obtained by PEOPLE.

A preliminary investigation determined that there were three people inside the car at the time — an 18-year-old driver and two passengers, one of whom succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital.

The collision, which is still under investigation, took place when the vehicle "veered to the right and collided into a raised asphalt curb and then traveled off the roadway into a metal light pole," authorities said. The car then rolled over "several times" down an embankment.

Both the driver and the other passenger were transported to a local hospital with major injuries, per the news release.

According to authorities, only the driver was wearing a seatbelt at the time. No charges have been filed at this point.

Following the crash, Connish was mourned by many members of his school community.

"For anyone who knew Jaylon, they could attest to the fact that he was a remarkable young man. He always had a smile on his face, and that smile truly lifted your spirit," the school's athletics department wrote in a statement shared on social media.

"He was a tremendous athlete and an even better young man," they added, noting that he was set to attend Western New Mexico University in the fall, "where he planned on continuing his football career and studying business and accounting."

In addition to having an "unparalleled work ethic," the student was remembered as being "a great human being" who "always did things right."

"We lost an amazing person, but we gained an angel who will be with us always," they wrote. "Rest In Peace, Smiley."

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Coach Kevin Pearson told NBC Los Angeles that Connish was "definitely at the top of the list" among the "amazing young men" he'd taught in almost three decades.

The high school football coach shared that officials at Western New Mexico University, where Connish had just accepted a football scholarship, were "devastated" to hear of the student's death.

Detailing a phone conversation he'd had with the college's football coach, Pearson recalled saying, "You have no idea what you're going to miss."

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Members of the WNMU football community also took to social media to mourn his passing.

"Jaylon and myself were just discussing him coming out here this past Thursday for a visit before reporting after graduation," Junior Tanuvasa, a defensive coordinator for the school's football team, wrote on Facebook.

"I pray for Strength and comfort for his parents," Tanuvasa continued. "You did an amazing job raising a humble, respectful and driven young man."

Additional information about the conditions of the driver and other passengers, who remained hospitalized as of Friday night, have not yet been released, according to NBC Los Angeles.

"Our Downey Unified family is heartbroken that we have lost one of our Warren High School students, a young man with a bright future ahead of him who has been such a big part of our Downey Unified family," the district said in a statement, per ABC affiliate KABC. "Our prayers are with our two students who are currently fighting and, as a Downey Unified family, we will rally around them and their families to support them during this extremely challenging time."

A GoFundMe has since been created to help the Connish family. Those interested in donating can do so here.

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