BELTON, Mo. -- Police say that a Belton teen may have been driving too fast and wasn't wearing a seat belt when he lost his life in an early-morning crash near his home.
Authorities say that 17-year-old Matthew Carr, a senior at Belton High School, was just blocks from his home in the 600 block of Lacy Lane when he lost control of his car and hit a tree around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
Police say that Carr was on his way home at the time of the crash, but did not say from where.
According to police, Carr was driving too fast and wasn't wearing a seatbelt at the time of the wreck. On Tuesday afternoon, Carr's classmates at Belton High School honored Carr in an after-school vigil.
"It was just an emotional day for everybody," said sophomore Mandi Peters, who lives just a few houses down from Carr. "Really, he was just really mellow and you know just funny and laid back like really he was just a happy guy all around. He always made everybody laugh."
Belton School District deputy superintendent Dr. Kirby Hall says extra counselors were on hand at the high school to help students cope.
"Especially when a young person such as Matthew dies, it brings to light how fragile life is and that in one quick instant it can all change," said Hall.
Hall says students planned Tuesday's vigil and that the district wants to honor and dignify people's reactions to the tragedy saying, "We want to provide a stable and routine and comforting secure environment so people can cope with it in whatever way is necessary for them to move forward."
Belton Police say that the accident may have been preventable.
“I can’t stress it enough to obey the traffic laws, the speed limits, wear your seatbelt,” said Detective Don Spears of the Belton Police Department. “Don’t be distracted texting. Cell phones, all those things are factors. I don’t know if that’s the case in this accident – in the past it could have been, so we definitely want them to be careful and not do those things.”
Authorities say that the case is now in the hands of the medical examiner, who will determine if drugs or alcohol played a role in the accident.