Crash report shows teen killed in fiery crash distracted by cellphone

UPDATE @ 3:15 p.m. (Oct. 10):

A traffic crash report shows a 16-year-old West Liberty-Salem High School student killed in a fiery crash Sunday afternoon may have been distracted by a cellphone.

Devin Marchal, president of the high school’s band, was driving a 1999 Honda Accord around 3 p.m. when he went left of center in the 3000 block of U.S. 68 in Salem Twp., according to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.

Marchal struck a 2002 Chevrolet pickup truck, which burst into flames. Passersby removed its driver, 48-year-old Tressa Wright. She was flown to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, where Wednesday afternoon she was listed in fair condition.


The student who died in a fiery crash Sunday afternoon in Champaign County was the president of the West Liberty-Salem High School band.

Devin Marchal, 16, was a fun-loving student who others enjoyed being around, West Liberty-Salem Superintendent Kraig Hissong said.

“Devin was a kid who really enjoyed life,” Hissong said. “He was very positive, had a great personality. He was a leader and president of our band. He was just somebody who could bring a lot of fun and joy to the other students he was around. That is the way we will remember him the most.”

Emergency crews arrived at the scene of a truck fully engulfed in flames in the 3800 block of U.S. Route 68, north of Urbana around 3:15 p.m.

Marchal was driving a 1999 Honda Accord and was traveling southbound on U.S. 68 when he drove left-of-center striking a 2002 Chevrolet truck driven by 48-year-old Tressa Wright, according to a release from the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.

Several passersby helped to rescue Wright from the truck after the crash.

Wright was transported to Grimes Airfield in Urbana, where she was flown by CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital. She is in fair condition.

The accident remains under investigation by the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.

West Liberty Fire Department and EMS assisted at the scene.

Marchal was a junior and member of the marching band and choir, according to social media posts offering condolences to his family and the school community.

West Liberty-Salem Local schools started an hour later Monday morning because of the death, Hissong said.

“We used the one-hour delay to basically meet with staff, give them an opportunity to prepare for students for today and also to give them some very basic information about what occurred, and so far it’s been helpful,” he said. “We also used the time to work on strategies for the children that are having a more difficult time dealing with the loss of Devin.”

Comments on this article