The 16-year-old driver who was killed in a crash just outside Longmont on Wednesday night has been identified as Henry Matheson, a junior and member of the Longmont High tennis team.
Longmont High School Principal Jeff McMurry sent out a letter to parents Thursday afternoon, emphasizing that resources were available to students experiencing grief.
“In moments like this, it is hard to find the words to express our collective grief upon learning of such an unexpected passing,” he wrote. “Our district’s crisis response team will be available to speak with any students or staff members who need support during this difficult time.”
Longmont High School athletic director Pete Scheck said that although Matheson was home-schooled and a majority of his school involvement was on the tennis team, “in terms of how he represented Longmont High School, I’m not sure you could ask for a whole lot more.”
“He was our No. 1 singles last year,” Scheck said. “He came in as a freshman and just got better every year, qualified for state. Just a really good kid, a nice kid who was pleasant to be around.”
Investigators said it appears that Matheson was attempting to pass another vehicle when his sedan struck a semitrailer head-on.
Colorado State Patrol Master Trooper Gary Cutler said the crash occurred at 7:30 p.m. on Colo. 66 near Pace Street. Cutler said the teen, who was eastbound, entered the westbound lanes before the collision.
Matheson was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Cutler said the truck driver, a 60-year-old man from Nebraska, was not injured. Initial information released by authorities Wednesday night was that the truck driver was a woman, but Cutler said that information had been updated Thursday.
Cutler said excessive speed on the part of the teen driver also is believed to be a factor in the crash. The posted speed for eastbound traffic on the section of Colo. 66 is 60 mph.
Scheck said: “We had a chance to gather the tennis family together, because with Mike (Merz) coaching both (boys and girls teams), they kind of work together a lot out on the courts. We had them all together, just so they could be together and support each other through this day.”
St. Vrain Valley School District parents in need of additional support were encouraged to contact the high school’s counseling office or the school’s main office line at 303-776-6014, according to McMurry’s letter. He also shared the following resources for students and parents to access on the evenings and weekends:
- Colorado Crisis Services 844-493-8255
- Mental Health Partners (Boulder County), 303-447-1665
- North Range Behavioral Health 24-hour Support (Weld County), 970-347-2120
- Tru Hospice Services (All Counties), 877-986-4766
- Walk-in Crisis Center – 3180 Airport Road Boulder, CO 80301
The Boulder County Coroner’s Office said an autopsy will be completed and the cause and manner of the teen’s death are pending further investigation.