WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — One of the West Warwick teenagers injured in a serious crash last month has died.
Matt Dennison passed away Thursday evening, according to West Warwick Superintendent Karen Tarasevich. Dennison had been in critical condition at Rhode Island Hospital since the crash, which also injured Kevin MacDonald.
“As a school community, we are heartbroken,” Tarasevich said.
Tarasevich said the district has notified the community of the West Warwick High School senior’s passing.
“We hold Matt close to our hearts as we remember him as a wonderful young man who will forever be part of our WWPS community,” Tarasevich said. “His strong character, leadership, friendship and kindness will be greatly missed, as so many were touched by his presence at WWHS.”
Dennison, alongside MacDonald, was the captain of the West Warwick/Exeter-West Greenwich (WWEWG) high school hockey team.
On Friday night, the teen was honored at the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s boys ice hockey championship game at Providence College.
A moment of silence was held for Dennison, and in the stands, Hendricken fans wore black and East Greenwich fans wore orange, which are the colors of his team.
“The hockey community’s a very tight-knit community in the state of Rhode Island, so when you lose one of your own … we all grieve with the Dennison family,” East Greenwich hockey parent Amy Doorley said. “It’s an unspeakable loss. I can’t even put it into words.”
Dennison’s coach Justin Lake tells 12 News the number 16 will be retired from their roster to honor his memory.
The 17-year-olds were on their way to the West Warwick hockey rink back in February when their car was hit head-on by an alleged drunk driver in Exeter. That driver was identified by police as Alexander Krajewski, 30, of North Kingstown.
Krajewski was arrested on charges including driving to endanger resulting in personal injury as well as driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs resulting in serious bodily injury.
The Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office tells 12 News Krajewski will be back in court next week to be arraigned on an additional charge. That specific charge will be released following his court appearance.
Krajewski, who’s also a Newport firefighter, was arraigned on the initial charges last month but was later released on bail.
The city of Newport released a statement regarding Dennison’s death: “Our city administration is extremely saddened by the news we learned today regarding the passing of Matthew Dennison. Our most sincerest thoughts are with Mr. Dennison’s family and the West Warwick community. We continue to evaluate the employment status of Mr. Krajewski and have no additional information to offer at this time.”
Krajewski is currently on paid leave.
Guidance counselors and social workers were on hand Friday at West Warwick High School to support students and staff.