2 South Elgin High School students killed in Bartlett crash ID'd by coroner's office

Saturday, September 2, 2023
2 South Elgin HS students killed in Bartlett crash ID'd
Two South Elgin High School students killed in a crash in Bartlett on Route 25 have been identified as Kamorra Campbell and Tahlulay Henry.

SOUTH ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- South Elgin High School students arrived on campus this morning about 24 hours after a terrible tragedy.

Just after 7 a.m. Thursday, the four teenage girls were just a couple blocks away from South Elgin High School, but they never arrived.

Their Honda Civic collided with a semi-truck, pushing the wreckage into a corn field. Bartlett police said their preliminary investigation has found it appears the Civic failed to yield to the truck in the intersection.

An attorney for the family of the girl who was driving said a witness told him the Civic had a green arrow to turn at the intersection. Bartlett police said the full investigation and final conclusions may take a while longer.

Four girls were trapped inside the mangled Civic. Firefighters had to remove the roof to get them out.

"Every accident is hard to deal with, especially one such as this," South Elgin Fire Chief William Luchsinger said."

Two of those girls have died and the other two were rushed to the hospital, where they remained Friday morning. The teen girls killed have been identified as 17-year-old Kamorra Campbell and 16-year-old Tahlulay Henry.

"I don't know where I'm going to go, you know," said Chiaunte Campbell, Kamorra's mother. "That was my backbone. That was my baby. That was my backbone."

"It's hard. It's hard. It's hard," said grandmother Sarah Campbell. "It's so hard."

Chiaunte said she heard the sires after the crash.

"You never think, you know, as a mother that your kids are going to go to school and not return home," she said.

Relatives said Kamorra was the sunshine of her family.

"That smile. She walked in the door, everybody in the way is gonna get a hug," her grandmother said.

Tahlulay Henry's older sister Aanomeya Henry is still hospitalized. School district officials identified the fourth teen as Elizabet Esparza, who they said also remains hospitalized where her conditional has stabilized.

The driver of the dump truck was also taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

While several after school activities were cancelled Thursday, South Elgin opted to go ahead with Friday night's football game at Glenbard East. There was a moment of silence before the game.

There is now a growing memorial steps away from where the crash happened. There is also a memorial in front of South Elgin High School in memory of the two classmates killed.

A statement from the U46 school district said in part, "Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time. We are here to provide support and assistance to the affected families in any way we can. The South Elgin High School and District crisis team remains activated. Grief and loss social workers and counselors will be at the school to help students and staff for as long as needed."

The crash happened just before the start of the school day. School officials said they are providing lots of support.

"Very appreciative though of our collaboration with our first responders across our communities and their ongoing support," District U-46 Superintendent Suzanne Johnson said. "They are there with us at South Elgin High School still, providing resources, whether it is through their therapy dogs, additional grief counselors that they are able to bring us. But also, they have so many relationships already with us and it is very powerful to have them with us at this time."