MONTVILLE, NJ – Montville Township residents took to social media to express their shock and grief at the loss of two Towaco teens who died in a Route 287 vehicle accident June 19.
New Jersey State Police reported that investigators believe the accident occurred Sunday night, and later identified victims Samuel Cali and Leonidas Vagias, both 19.
Both men attended Cedar Hill Elementary School and Lazar Middle School, then went to Don Bosco Preparatory School.
Cali then went on to attend Rutgers, where he was on the wrestling team, and Vagias attended University of Rhode Island where he was on the football team.
Neighbors, classmates and friends took to Facebook and Twitter to express condolences and grief regarding the deaths of such young men.
Dacie O'Leary wrote on Facebook: "Montville has lost two promising young men: Leo Vagias and Sam Cali. Both went to Cedar Hill with my son. Both graduated from Don Bosco in 2015. Leo then went to University of Rhode Island, Sam to Rutgers. They died together in a car accident at only 19. If your child goes to MEDLC, you may know Sam's mom. She is the bookkeeper. My [son] Kevin was best friends with Leo for many, many years. They drifted apart because of different high schools and Leo was a top place kicker who spent a lot of time with that and his studies. Sam was also a top wrestler. […] We are so sad. Hurting.”
Allysa Johansen wrote on Facebook: “Sammy and Leo were like little brothers to me. […] The little brothers you couldn't live with and could NEVER live without.
“Sammy was one of those little brothers that not only protected me, but confided in me and my best friends, when he needed a big sister’s advice.
“Sammy was the most amazing athlete, and amazing student, a wonderful boy growing into a man, and the most amazing athlete that had the best future ahead of him. I couldn't be more proud of all of his accomplishments, and it breaks my heart to know he cannot continue his amazing, fulfilling life.”
Lisa LoBiondo wrote on Facebook: "Two great kids that I have had at my home; polite, well mannered, from great families. My heart is breaking, and my thoughts and prayers go out to their families, friends, and teammates. RIP Sam & Leo.”
Arjan Leka wrote on Facebook: “It pains me to think of saying goodbye to these two great athletes. Leo Vagias, it was never a boring moment with you. Your goofy personality always made my day so much better. I'm sorry I never got to say goodbye […] You had big dreams, dreams we worked on accomplishing together... You'll forever remain one of my best kickers I've ever trained! Sam Cali, the wrestling world is missing out on one of the best wrestlers to step on the mat. You trained harder than most kids your age and your life was taken before the world could know your name. My prayers go out to both your families and friends as this is a very hard time for everyone. Love you guys and you will forever be remembered.”
Renee Corcia-Drumm wrote on Facebook: “I do not know what to do or say at this moment, there are NO words... Theresa Cali, you are one of Montville's finest and sweetest moms. My heart is so heavy for you and your family! We go way back to 2000 and I can honestly say I never saw you without a smile on.”
“We know that the community has been deeply affected by this loss,” Superintendent of Schools René Rovtar noted in a letter emailed to parents.
“Dealing with death is always difficult, but the loss of those so young is particularly painful. […] The Montville Township Public Schools sends its thoughts and prayers to the families of these two young men.”
Rovtar noted in a letter to parents and students that counselors were available at the high school to assist students.
Don Bosco Prep tweeted:
We are heartbroken by the tragic death of Sam Cali and Leo Vagias. With deepest condolences+prayers for their families #boscobrotherhood