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Hyde Park community mourns loss of teen killed in crash

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Albany/HV: Hyde Park community mourns loss of teen killed in crash
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The Hyde Park community is mourning the loss of a local teen. Claudio Coppola, 16, died in a car crash along a busy road. YNN's Elaina Athans tells us how the community and the teen's classmates are coping.

HYDE PARK, N.Y. -- "It's the worst thing any community can experience and especially, most specifically, the family," said Dr. Greer Fischer, Hyde Park Superintendent.

Those who know and love Claudio Coppola are in mourning and left with memories. The 16-year-old was killed in a car crash on Friday. He was a junior at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School, where a flag now waves at half staff.

On Monday, even though the school was technically closed for the holiday, staff members and a crisis response team made themselves available to students and community members coping with this loss.

"We try cover all basis and think of everyone that this could affect and how this tragedy might effect them and what we can do to support them," said Dr. Fischer.

The student athlete was severely injured in an accident on Crum Elbow Road. Police found his pickup truck flipped over and submerged in a marsh.

"People always want to believe drugs or alcohol were a factor. Mr. Coppola was a nice young man from the town here and we have no reason to believe that was a factor," said Lt. Robert Benson, Hyde Park Police.

Administrators at the high school describe Coppola as a lively, fun individual who was popular with his classmates, but also very studious.

"He could break the ice in awkward situations a lot of times. And he had that type of personality that could take you far in life," said Peter Buttitta, Coppola's social studies teacher.

The teen's family and the Coppola last name is well-known in Hyde Park area. The family owns many businesses.

"I know the Coppola family very well, and they’re a close religious family and it’s a horrible, horrible loss," said Benson.

Claudio will be laid to rest on Wednesday. The same morning as his funeral, a student organization will say their final goodbyes and hold a prayer service at the school.

Police are still looking into a cause for the crash. Investigators say it could take up to ten weeks until they get back autopsy results.

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