Town mourns Coventry teens killed in crash

Jesse Leavenworth, Hartford Courant

The mother of a teenage girl who died in a double fatal car crash Monday said she was happy for the young back seat passenger who survived, and for his loved ones.

“I’m so thankful that his family doesn’t have to go through this,” Melissa Riley, mother of Olivia Cyr, said through tears Wednesday afternoon.

“Because he’s so young,” Riley said of survivor Samuel Smith, 18, “and I just... I hope the next time he’s in a car, I hope that he’ll be able to take something away from this.”

Cyr, 16, died after being flown to Hartford Hospital from the scene of the one-car crash on Route 44 near Silver Street. The driver, Jacob Provost, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene. Smith was released from the hospital Monday after being treated for minor injuries, police said.

Provost was driving east when the car crossed the center line of Route 44 and hit a tree on the westbound side of the road. The force of the impact stripped off bark and embedded window glass in the tree.

Two crosses covered with messages of love and remembrance were staked at the foot of the tree, along with photographs, flowers, a glass angel and other mementos. Tacked to the tree was a message on lined paper that said, “Love is more powerful than pain. This spot is not to remember tragedy, but it is to memorialize two souls and the love they brought to a painful world.”

Bella Malcein,16, who stopped at the roadside memorial Wednesday afternoon, said she had known Olivia Cyr since fifth grade and already missed her “quite a lot.”

Cyr was a junior at Coventry High School and Provost was a recent graduate, according to a notice posted on the school website.

Riley described Cyr, who had two younger brothers, as “a free spirit.” She had just turned 16 on Nov. 19 and was eager to start working and earning money, Riley said. In fact, her daughter had gone to an interview for a job at Dunkin’ Donuts earlier this year, but was turned away because of her age, Riley said.

“She always wanted to get a job and be as independent as she could be — ever since she was a very little girl,” Riley said.

Cyr had met Provost this year through a mutual friend, Riley said. At the time of the crash, which police said happened at about 4 a.m., the trio was probably headed back to Provost’s house after hanging out at another friend’s home, she said.

Police say the investigation is continuing and would not offer additional details on whether anyone in the car was wearing a seat belt or whether speed was a factor. But Riley remembered another young couple who were killed in a similar crash on Route 44 and wanted to tell everyone to just slow down.

“Everybody and anybody, older drivers and younger drivers, we’re all going too fast,” she said.

Police asked anyone who witnessed the crash or has other information to contact them at 860-742-7331.

Visiting hours for Olivia Cyr are scheduled for Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at Coventry-Pietras Funeral Home, 2665 Boston Turnpike. A private graveside service is to be held for family and close friends. For online condolences, visit www.pietrasfuneralhome.com

Counseling sessions (virtually and in person) are being offered at Coventry High School on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 860-742-7346 to schedule a session or for more information.

“Obviously, something like this is heartbreaking,” district School Superintendent David Petrone said. “The community is hurting. The school community is hurting. It’s important for us all to come together and support each other.”

Jesse Leavenworth can be reached at jleavenworth@courant.com