Lehigh Valley

Community mourns Pen Argyl HS student killed in car crash

Crash occurred Sunday night on Rt. 33.

PEN ARGYL BOROUGH, Pa. - It was one of Jonathan Antonioli's favorite places.

"He would always come into the skate park every day," begins Liam Kessler. "And instantly everyone would have a smile on their face," he adds.

The skate park in Pen Argyl is where he and many of his friends first met.

So it seemed only right, that’s where they would gather to say goodbye.

"I was best friends with Johnny for 12 years and I didn't expect for this to happen at all," Payce Kessler says, dropping his eyes to the ground. His brother Liam squeezes his shoulder.

17-year-old Jonathan was in bad car accident Sunday on Route 33 South. He was rushed to the hospital - still alive - but his prognosis was grim.

His friends and family decided to hold a prayer vigil.

They had barely begun, when they got the news; Jonathan had passed away.

"I'm just speechless right now. I don't even know what to say at this point," Payce says quietly.

Jonathan's cousin, Jayde Zigubu, organized the event.

She was shocked by the news.

"It still doesn't feel real. It feels like he's just going to show up one day and be here…" she drifts off.

Liam gushes with pride about the person Jonathan was.

"He was just a ball of positive energy," he says, "And it fueled me up to skate more and it fueled everyone up and I'll never forget him for it."

"I would do anything for that kid, he was like a brother. I'd take a bullet for that kid, I loved that kid so much," Payce adds.

The large crowd says they're proof of the kind of guy Jonathan was - someone who made everybody feel loved.

So, they're returning that love. There's already a GoFundMe page set up to help with his family's expenses.

"We have to get through this and hopefully we'll be OK in the end," Jayde says, then pauses and adds, "I don't really know what's next to be honest."

Another cousin tells us the next family reunion will have a somber cloud hanging over it.

Moving forward won't be easy for anybody here, but they promise to remember.

"We'll keep his memory living on. Always," Liam says firmly.

That's the one thing they say they can do.

Payce puts his hand over his heart.

"He's always gonna be here," he says. He taps his heart.

"Right here."


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