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Horrific Arborway wreck ‘hit home’ for Latin Academy coach

Robert McCormick didn’t know at first who was in the crash, and then he found out

A crash Friday afternoon on the Arborway sent six people to the hospital, two with critical injuries.

Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff/file

A crash Friday afternoon on the Arborway sent six people to the hospital, two with critical injuries.

As Latin Academy varsity hockey coach Bob McCormick made his way home Friday afternoon, he got stuck in traffic behind a gruesome two-car wreck on the Arborway in Jamaica Plain.

“I was a minute and half behind the accident, but I didn’t know who was involved,” a somber McCormick said in a phone interview Saturday. But, he added, “at the moment I heard there were teens involved, I had a sneaking suspicion and sure enough, it was confirmed.”

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McCormick soon learned that all four teens in one of the wrecked vehicles were Academy students, and two were players on his hockey team.

The coach raced to the hospital, where he said he found his players stable, but “in rough shape.”

“Everyone’s pretty much in a wait-and-see mode right now,” he said. “We’re all just hoping and praying and sending our best to the families. It’s not a good time, for sure. . . . They’re still with us, so that’s a positive.”

One of the students remained in critical condition Saturday. Officials said the Mazda sport utility vehicle he was driving jumped a median on the Arborway, rolled, and slammed into an oncoming Ford pickup, severely injuring its driver.

A spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said the 18-year-old driver of the SUV and the adult driver of the pickup truck were both in critical but stable condition Saturday. A 15-year-old passenger in the SUV suffered minor injuries, while two 14-year-old passengers were in pediatric intensive care Saturday, Conley spokesman Jake Wark said in a statement.

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The one passenger in the pickup truck suffered minor injuries, Wark said.

The two mangled vehicles were visible Friday at the scene of the accident, which caused an hours-long traffic jam in the often congested area. Nearby residents complained Friday to the Globe that drivers sometimes treat the Arborway like a “speedway,” racing down the winding road at unsafe speeds.

Boston Public Schools spokesman Lee McGuire said counselors would be on hand Monday to speak with students affected by the incident, but declined to comment further pending a State Police investigation. McGuire said it was too soon to know if the schools would cancel any games or events.

State Police officials declined to name the victims or say what events may have led to the wreck while they complete the inquiry. So far, no charges have been filed in the crash.

McCormick has been keeping his tight-knit team updated with text messages, the coach said, and plans to address the group at school Monday.

“This one hits home,” he said, declining to name the student victims or comment further.

State Police investigators have interviewed some victims of the crash as they try to determine its cause, Wark said. Others were too badly injured to speak with detectives, however.

“Obviously, medical treatment comes first,” Wark said.

Crash reconstruction experts are working on an analysis of the accident, while other investigators are reviewing recorded 911 calls, according to Conley’s office.

Friends of the victims have connected on social media sites, sharing information about the conditions of the victims, expressing disbelief, and asking the community to pray for the injured teens and adult driver.

Dan Adams can be reached at dadams@globe.com. Find him on Twitter at @DanielAdams86.

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