Johnstown Independent

Johnstown still processing loss of three teens in crash


A day after three Johnstown-area teens were killed and two others were injured in a horrific crash, the Licking County village of about 5,000 was quiet.

About a dozen staff members and counselors from both the Johnstown-Monroe and Northridge school districts gathered in the Johnstown-Monroe High School media center the morning of Friday, June 27, ready to talk and help comfort any grieving students or community members.

No students showed up.

Johnstown-Monroe High School counselor Debbie Merrill believed a candlelight vigil in town helped the community grieve June 28, when about 200 students, parents and friends gathered.

"I think last night helped many of the students and the community come together to process," Merrill said.

On Thursday, June 26 -- only two months after earning his driver's license -- Jaylynn Rigio piled four of his friends into his grandmother's 2003 Mitsubishi Diamante.

Troopers from the Granville post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol say Rigio lost control of the car about noon, swerving off a deep berm on the right side of Hardscrabble Road, north of Alexandria.

He overcorrected to the left, and went off the road again. Trying to steer the car back onto the road, Rigio flipped it onto its side and smashed, top first, into a large maple tree.

The force of the impact tore the four-door sedan in half.

"By the damage, it looks like they were traveling at a high rate of speed," said Sgt. Jeff Dallas of the Granville post of the highway patrol. "Extremely high."

Rigio's three backseat passengers -- Michael Hoskinson, 17, and Linzie Bell and Cheyenne Spurgeon, both 15 -- were dead by the time authorities had arrived.

Rigio was flown to Nationwide Children's Hospital; his front-seat passenger, Ashton Cody, 16, was taken to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center. As of Thursday night, June 26, hospital personnel wouldn't release their conditions.

Hoskinson recently graduated from Johnstown-Monroe High School, where Rigio just finished his sophomore year.

Spurgeon, Bell and Cody also all, at one time, attended Johnstown schools, but have since transferred elsewhere.

Cody recently completed his sophomore year in the North Fork district near Utica.

Bell attended Northridge schools near Alexandria.

Spurgeon was a student last year at Watkins Memorial Middle School in Pataskala.