PEKIN - Two Tremont teenagers were killed in a one car accident just before midnight Saturday after the car they were traveling in veered off the road and into trees in a gully.
John R. Goulden, 16, and Hugh S. Schieler, 17, both juniors at Tremont High School, were pronounced dead at 12:45 a.m. Sunday morning, according to a press release from the Tazewell County coroner's office.
Goulden and Schieler were apparently returning to a birthday party after going to pick up fuel at one of their homes for a bonfire when the accident happened, the coroner's office said.
They were traveling South on Schmidgall Road, about one mile north of Illinois 9 when the accident occurred.
"Speed may have played a part in the crash as the vehicle was virtually torn in half," the press release said.
Tazewell County sheriff's office was working on the reconstruction Sunday and could not provide any details about the make of the car or which boy was driving at the time of the accident.
Autopsies are scheduled for Monday afternoon and inquests will be scheduled at a later date.
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Tremont High School Principal Jeff Hinman said counselors will be available to students.
"We have a very tight-knit school community and we're very saddened to lose these two outstanding students," he said.
Ryan Renner, 18, of Mackinaw, a close friend and former classmate of Schieler's, remembered Hugh.
"You ever know one of those guys who just made you smile when you looked at him? That was Hugh," said Renner, a senior at Deer Creek-Mackinaw High School, who made friends with Schieler in the third grade. The two competed in paintball tournaments for four years, and regularly dropped by each others' homes after school.
"He had a contagious laugh, and a billion friends," said Renner, "He was the friendliest kid ever."
Three Pekin High school students were killed in a single-car accident in Setepmber in Pekin.
Reporter William Barker contributed to this story.