Three Boy Scouts and an adult who died in a traffic accident in Wyoming on June 30 have been identified as Woodland Park residents.
The victims’ names were released by Woodland Park High School Superintendent Jed Bowman on July 1. The RE-2 School District released the following statement:
“With heavy hearts and deep sadness, three students who attended Woodland Park High School tragically died in a horrific traffic accident yesterday as they were returning from a Boy Scout Camp in Wyoming. The deceased are 16-year-old Paul Kekich who would have been a junior, Nick Naples, 17, who would have been a senior, and Alex Ragan, 17, who would have been a senior. In addition to our students, one community member, Richard (Richie) Kleiner also died in the accident.
“These deaths are going to have significant impacts on our Woodland Park Community. … We are putting grief counseling structures in place to help our students, staff and community members. Once more information becomes available, we will post it on our District Website at www.wpsdk12.org. Please keep our families and entire community in your thoughts and prayers as we deal with this tragedy.”
In a separate letter to the community, Bowman writes: “We will likely open our school as a gathering place in the days to come and will provide more information once that is available.
“For our parents, you are encouraged to talk to your child(ren) about this tragedy. Feelings can be especially overwhelming at this time. There is no right way to express the sadness, grief and confusion that our students can feel when they encounter tragedy. Some students may not react outwardly at all. Students can be particularly vulnerable if this event reminds them about another loss or sadness in their own lives. Knowing what to say to your child is often difficult.
“Making yourself available for conversation or support is important. Expect that resolving feelings related to this tragedy may take your child quite a while to reconcile. It is normal for a child to bring up the situation well after the fact and often when you least expect it.
“If your child is struggling, please encourage them to come to the high school’s library where we will have counselors available.
“When we receive information regarding funeral/memorial services, we will let you know by posting it on our website and we will send email within our district system.
“There are no words to express the grief that we all feel. We will need to rely on each other for support more than ever as we cope with these tragic losses of life.”
According to the Wyoming State Patrol the Boy Scouts and Kleiner left the Buffalo Bill Cody Scout Camp on Saturday morning in a Honda Element. At about 10:15 a.m. the Element drifted into the path on an oncoming motor home.
Besides the four fatalities in the Element, a 3-year-old in the motor home also died. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
The Pikes Peak Council, Boy Scouts of America released a statement Sunday:
”Pikes Peak Council, Boy Scouts of America are saddened to receive news that three Scouts and one adult leader from Troop 230 in Woodland Park died in a car accident on their way home from Buffalo Bill Cody Scout Camp in Wyoming. The Council is working to provide support to all those involved, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with them during this difficult time. If you have additional questions, please contact the authorities.
“Scouting is a family and we ask that you please respect the privacy of our volunteers and Scout parents.”