Families plan memorials as charges filed in fatal crash

Easter dawn gathering planned at high school

UPPER TULPEHOCKEN TWP., Pa. - Grieving family and community members have heard the news. Criminal charges were filed Wednesday against a 17-year-old boy who was driving a car that crashed in Berks County late last year, killing two other teenagers.

District Attorney John Adams described it as a case of dangerous driving.

"Extreme, extreme recklessness," Adams told 69 News.

The crash claimed the lives of two passengers, Tulpehocken Jr./Sr. High School students Shanon Althouse and Sean Orner.

"We have charged the driver with homicide by vehicle, two counts," explained Adams. "Involuntary manslaughter, two counts, and a host of other motor vehicle-related violations."

Zach Althouse, who lost his sister, Shanon, in the wreck, wants to focus on the positive things the families are doing to remember and honor their lost loved ones.

"I'd say that's more of a private matter," said Althouse. "I really want to speak to the services we have open to the community right now."

The families of Shanon and Sean are planning a ceremony for Easter morning at the high school auditorium.

"There's actually going to be a bench dedicated in memory of Shanon and Sean at the service," he said.

Sean's parents ask that donations be made in Sean's name to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Zach Althouse said his sister loved animals and they have something planned in her name as well.

A pet food drive will be held at the high school in her name at the end of April.

Family members don't want it to stop there.

"We actually have seven cats at our place and that's because she could not turn them away," he explained. "It's something that was very dear to her, and it's something that we want to continue on as a tradition for years and years to come."

They are discussing other initiatives, such as scholarship funds, as ways to turn their grief into action.

Shanon's grandmother, Linda Althouse, said it's what the family and the community need.

"I think it's healing for all to be involved, knowing that the end result is going to benefit another child," she said.

The Easter dawn gathering is set to begin at 7 a.m. on Easter Sunday at the Tulpehocken Jr./Sr. High School auditorium. All are welcome.

The first pet drive to benefit the Animal Rescue League of Berks County will be held on Saturday, April 28, at the high school from 8 a.m. to noon.

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