BURRILLVILLE, R.I. (WPRI) — The investigation continues into a crash that killed a young man and woman in Burrillville last week.
Officers rushed to Lapham Farm Road Friday afternoon following reports of a serious crash near Mowry Street. Investigators believe the driver, 19-year-old Andrew Long, veered off the roadway and into a tree.
Burrillville Police Col. Stephen Lynch said his officers pulled up to a “incredibly difficult and horrific scene.”
“[The] vehicle had been disintegrated into three separate pieces,” Lynch explained, adding that the car was “fully engulfed” in flames.
Long was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, identified as 18-year-old Ariel Welch, was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.
Though it’s unclear exactly what caused Long to veer off the roadway, Lynch believes “extreme speed” was a factor in the crash.
“There is no doubt,” he said. “It’s a winding roadway … This was avoidable, and it’s so unfortunate and tragic.”
There’s now a memorial for Long and Welch growing at the base of the tree.
In a statement to 12 News, Burrillville Superintendent Michael Sollitto confirmed Long was a 2023 graduate of Ponaganset High School. Welch also used to go to school in the district, he added.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of these young adults that were taken far too soon,” Sollitto wrote.