By Dave Warner
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Hundreds of grieving parents, students and friends were gathering at Mainland Regional High School in southern New Jersey on Sunday evening to mourn the deaths of four football players in a car crash.
"I can't remember anything that has ever happened that is more devastating than this," Linwood Mayor Rick DePamphilis III said on Sunday. Linwood is near Atlantic City.
He said the four high school players, plus four others who were injured, were on their way to a traditional meal with other teammates at about 11:45 a.m. Saturday in nearby Mays Landing when the accident occurred. They were to celebrate the end of summer football practices.
New Jersey State Police said the car, driven by Casey Brenner, 17, of Northfield, N.J., went out of control and overturned several times near the Egg Harbor exit on the Garden State Parkway as it came upon heavy traffic near the exit.
Brenner was killed, along with Edgar Bozzi, 16, of Somers Point, N.J., Nicholas Connor, 16, of Northfield, and Dean Khourty, 15, of Linwood.
Four others were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, state police said.
Police said Bozzi was ejected from the 2002 Ford Explorer and his body struck a passing car. Khourty was also ejected from the vehicle.
According to the website of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, drivers under the age of 18 are allowed to have only one passenger in their cars.
DePamphilis said officials offered counseling services on Sunday afternoon for anyone who wanted it, and that was to be followed by a service remembering those who died.
The mayor said he expected a large turnout at the service from the three towns covered by Mainland Regional, Linwood, Northfield and Somers Point.
"Mainland Regional football is a family type of thing," he said.
(Editing by Greg McCune)