Car swept into water after crash, students drown

Christopher Paul Kosmos (image courtesy Facebook)

March 28, 2010 9:00:00 PM PDT
Two students from West Johnston High School drowned south of Clayton Monday when the car they were riding in was swept into a creek and filled with water.

It happened around 7 a.m. along Steel Bridge Road at Lee Road. That's south of Clayton.

Sergeant Jorge Brewer with the North Carolina Highway Patrol told ABC11 Eyewitness News that a 1998 White Chevy Cavalier hydroplaned in water on the road, ran off the pavement to the right, and hit a ditch - flipping over and coming to rest wheels up at the edge of a flooded creek.

Benson resident Mike Street told ABC11 he witnessed the accident and called 911 for help.

Street said the car was swept along by flood water. The person on the driver's side was waving their arms. The driver's side window was down, but Street said the person wouldn't get out of the vehicle. Then, the front end of the small Chevy sedan dropped completely into deeper water. The entire car was submerged.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol identified the students as 16-year-old Alissa Chenette of Clayton and her boyfriend 18-year-old Christopher Paul Kosmos of Angier.

The Highway Patrol said Kosmos was driving the car.

Chenette's body was found inside the vehicle. Divers later recovered Kosmos about 150 away from where the car was found.

Friends Devan Holman and Ethan Hovermale say they were shocked to hear about the accident.

"He was like a big brother to me and he always had good advice and always told me things that could help," Hovermale said.

"Like, I didn't think it was real, like I didn't think it was happening and I didn't want to believe that it was happening," Hovermale said. "I'll miss him."

Kosmos was a senior at West Johnston High School and Chenette was a junior.

"We are profoundly saddened by the loss of two wildcats, Alissa Chenette and Chris Kosmos," West Johnston High School Principal Brookie Honeycutt said. "Both loved their school and had a zest for life. Their cheerful smiles and greetings always brightened my day. These students were very active in many programs, including the band, at West Johnston and they left a void that will be hard to fill. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to their family and friends."

Both students were involved with the high school band.

"Chris had been a four year member of the Marching Band and was one of the Senior Tuba Leaders this past fall helping the younger members of the section with their marching and music. His guidance was an integral part of the band success this past fall season," West Johnston High School Band Directors David S. Duffy and Garret L. Griffin said. "Alissa was a third year member of the WJHS colorguard and had started her beginnings in the McGee's Middle School Winterguard program. She, as well, helped the younger members of the flag line this year with the routines that they were given. Alissa was also a member of the Winterguard for two seasons here at West Johnston performing as a flag, rifle and sabre."

Grief counselors will be at the school Tuesday and will be available to all students and staff. They will remain at WJHS until they are no longer needed.

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