The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 18, 2012

Schools mourn young lives lost in two traffic accidents

SELINSGROVE — SELINGROVE - Silence fell over Harold L. Bolig Memorial Field on Monday night .

The Shikellamy Braves and the Selinsgrove Seals came to play a football game, but they and their fans took a moment to mourn their losses — Travis Tillett, 16 of Northumberland, and Robert Wayne Hill, 20, of Selinsgrove.

Travis was one of four Shikellamy students injured in Friday morning’s crash along Route 304 outside of New Berlin. He died Saturday.

Hill was northbound on Route 204 at 9:28 a.m. Monday when he lost control of his vehicle on a curve just outside of Kratzerville in Snyder County and struck a pole and was killed, state police at Selinsgrove said.

Friday’s accident led to the postponement of the football game until Monday, a decision endorsed by Shikellamy head football coach Todd Tilford.

“There are more things to life then football,” Tilford said. “Everyone has been affected by this tragic event, and we had no problems waiting to play this football game. This hit our players hard, and the most important thing is our kids. We had no problem not playing this game on Friday.”

Selinsgrove head coach Dave Hess agreed.

“This whole Valley is a big family,” Hess said. “In my 30 years here I have never had to cancel a game because of such a horrific event. We reached out to Shikellamy as much as we could, and we had no problems waiting to play.”

Thousands of fans stood silently, and players from both teams knelt on one knee when it was announced that Tillett and Hill were to be remembered.

Cheerleaders from both squads released white balloons in the air as fans in the stands hugged and shook their heads.

“The best thing to do was to cancel the game on Friday,” said Shikellamy senior Tiara Bartol. “It was out of respect for the family and as students we agreed with the decision.”

Freshman Bryce Barto said he witnessed teachers crying in halls on Monday.

“It is sad and I saw our teacher crying,” he said. “They offered us counseling all day, and if we needed to talk, we were told we could at any time.”

Fans David Danato and Linda Pelkano were glad that the Friday night game was postponed.

“I think it showed that our Valley schools have class,” Danato said. “I gained so much respect for these coaches and these administrators.”

Pelkano said she never felt so much togetherness at a football game.

“You can just hear people talking about these accidents,” she said. “Everyone is on one side through all of this and that’s the side of love. We may not have known either of these boys, but I can surely tell you that they are loved by all these people here tonight.”

One of Tillett’s classmates, Samuel Mull, was in fair condition at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville on Monday, a nursing supervisor said. The supervisor had no information on Robert Coleman, another accident victim, who had been in fair condition since Friday.

A fourth student, Justin Miller, was treated Friday and sent home.

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