WARREN, Ohio (AP) – Hundreds of mourners in a flocked Friday to the first of six funerals for the teenagers killed when a speeding sport utility vehicle crashed last weekend in northeast Ohio.
Fifteen-year-old Kirklan Behner was remembered for his charismatic personality, the Youngstown Vindicator reported.
Family and friends said Behner, a ninth-grader, loved to make others laugh and was known to shovel snow or carry groceries to help his neighbors.
Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said he worked alongside Behner on two different cleanup projects.
“He had something that caused adults to gravitate to him,” Franklin said. “He had a joyful spirit that was contagious. From that point on, I felt like he was a part of my family.”
Behner and five other teens drowned Sunday when an SUV struck a guardrail and flipped into a swampy pond in Warren, about 50 miles southeast of Cleveland.
Authorities say the 19-year-old driver didn’t have a valid license. Her funeral services are scheduled Saturday.
Four more teenage boys also died. Their funeral services are planned between Sunday and Tuesday.
Pastor Anthony L. Davis of Genesis Christian Community Center said he questioned God about why Behner died so soon.
“God had to remind me that his time ain’t like our time,” Davis told mourners. “He also had to remind me that he doesn’t take everyone through the same process of promotion. God said I have something better than just a high-school diploma.”
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