4 teenagers involved in deadly rollover crash near Conifer identified


Marshall Otter, left, 17, of Ulysses, Kan., was injured in a rollover crash near Conifer on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. A.J. Ricketts, 16, of Nigeria, Jake Whitting, 18, of Glen Head, N.Y., and John Yoder, 19, of Denver were killed in the crash.

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — The four teenagers who were involved in a rollover crash near Conifer on Tuesday that left three of them dead have been identified, and the Colorado State Patrol said alcohol and/or drugs are suspected.

CSP said Jake Whitting, 18, of Glen Head, N.Y., was the driver of the Dodge Dakota that rolled near 12448 S. Foxton Road about 4:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Whitting lost control of the vehicle, which went off the right side of the roadway, CSP said. After leaving the road, the Dakota rolled over as it went down an embankment, coming to rest in a creek.

One of the passengers who died was identified by CSP as 19-year-old John Yoder of Denver. Friends took to Yoder’s Facebook page to mourn his loss.

The third person who died was a 16-year-old male who will not be identified by name because of his age by CSP, but the Salina Journal said it was A.J. Ricketts from Nigeria, according to an official at the school he attended.

Another passenger, 17-year-old Marshall Otter of Ulysses, Kan., was ejected from the Dakota and taken to St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood with serious injuries. He was found crawling up the embankment, CSP said.

The Salina Journal reported all four teenagers were cadets at St. John’s Military School in Salina, Kan., and that Whitting was the Class of 2016’s valedictorian. Yoder and Ricketts were seniors-to-be, and Otter will be a junior in the fall.

Investigators believe the four might have been heading to or from a campsite because of the supplies they found scattered at the crash scene.

CSP said Wednesday that alcohol and/or drugs are being suspected in the crash, and will be investigated by the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office.

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