RHAM senior killed in single-vehicle accident

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Tue., Aug. 13, 2013
A memorial at the site of the accident contains many reminders of Paige Houston's years as a local cheerleader. Photos by Melanie Savage.
A memorial at the site of the accident contains many reminders of Paige Houston's years as a local cheerleader. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Seventeen-year-old Paige Houston, who would have been a senior at RHAM High School this year, was killed in a single-vehicle accident during the early-morning hours of Tuesday, Aug. 6. A pickup truck driven by Hebron resident Connor McKee, also age 17, reportedly swerved across the road on West Street approaching Martin Road. The truck hit a tree, ejecting Houston, who was not wearing a seat belt, from the back seat of the vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics who responded to a call coming in at just before 1 a.m. Two other teenaged passengers, who were belted, received minor injuries.

McKee, who had just obtained his driver’s license in March of this year, should not have had passengers in his vehicle at the time of the crash, according to Connecticut motor vehicle laws. State law prohibits new drivers from being on the road between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. New drivers are also not permitted to have passengers, other than a licensed driving instructor, a parent or a guardian. A spokesperson in the Connecticut State Police Public Information Office, reached on Aug. 12, said that it was “too soon” for an update regarding potential charges against McKee.

Houston, described by relatives as an honors student who had attained high honors at the end of her junior year at RHAM, was involved for many years in local cheerleading. She was slated to be co-captain of the RHAM cheerleading squad for her senior year. During high school, Houston served as an assistant coach for the RHAM youth program. Family members said she planned to study early childhood development at Eastern Connecticut State University after graduation.

Dylan O’Connell, who graduated from RHAM in June, knew Houston well. “Paige was a close friend of mine,” he said. "[She was] always upbeat and smiling. Paige and I used to speak about anything and everything. She had a sense of security that you felt when you met her. [She was] someone who you could trust - someone who was a true friend.”

At a vigil held at RHAM High School the evening of Aug. 6, Houston’s mother, Michele, urged other teenagers to call their parents rather than risk getting into a dangerous situation. "Believe me, your parents can deal with being mad at you, but they can't deal with this,” she said.

Calling hours, held on Friday, Aug. 9, at Hebron's Church of the Holy Family, drew hundreds of visitors. Cars overflowed the parking lot, lining both sides of Route 85 as well as a portion of nearby Hope Valley Road.

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