Accident kills Empire High QB Weeks

Teen is thrown from vehicle when car veers off I-10
2012-12-17T00:01:00Z 2014-08-05T10:16:18Z Accident kills Empire High QB WeeksCarmen Duarte Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 17, 2012 12:01 am  • 

Empire High School quarterback and wrestler Grayson Weeks was killed Sunday morning when he was ejected from a car and then struck by another vehicle on Interstate 10 near Benson, authorities said.

Weeks, 16, was a passenger in a 2003 Mitsubishi four-door sedan driven by Austin Avila, 16, of Benson, an Arizona Department of Public Safety official said.

The car was traveling east on I-10 near Marsh Station Road shortly after midnight when it ran off the left side of the road for unknown reasons, the official said. Avila was trying to swerve back onto the road when the car rolled, ejecting Weeks, who was not wearing a seat belt, said the official.

Weeks was then struck by a 2009 black Lincoln SUV and suffered fatal injuries, the official said.

Avila and passenger David Aldstadt, 17, were admitted to an area hospital for treatment. Two other passengers, Jeffrey Rhodes, 17, and Riki Olivas, 18, were treated and released from the hospital, the official said.

The driver of the Lincoln SUV and a passenger in that vehicle were not injured in the incident, authorities said.

Weeks' uncle, Jorge Mendivil, athletic director and head football coach at Empire High, said the family is "coping with the tragedy."

Weeks met the teens who were in the car several years ago at summer football tournaments, Mendivil said. "They were his friends."

Avila and Rhodes were varsity football players at Benson High School, said Mendivil.

"Grayson was one of the most popular kids around. He touched a lot of lives. There has been an outpouring of support that we really appreciate," Mendivil said.

"He was our starting quarterback and a top wrestler in the state. He led us to the state playoffs, and he was on pace to break a lot of records," Mendivil said through tears.

"This is a very tragic loss for Empire High School and the Vail community," said Natalie Luna Rose, a spokeswoman for the Vail School District.

"Grayson was a very talented, well-liked and caring person. Our hearts go out to his family and many other people in our community who are directly affected by the loss of this precious young man," Luna Rose said.

A candlelight vigil in memory of Weeks is set for 6 p.m. today at Empire High's football field. The school is at 10701 E. Mary Ann Cleveland Way.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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