By Courtney Gousman
St. Charles County, Mo (KSDK) - A St. Charles County teen is dead following a vehicle crash on a rural road.
Investigators with the St. Charles County Sheriff's Office say they believe the teens may have been hill jumping. NewsChannel 5 also learned drugs may have been a factor in the accident.
The accident happened just south of the Greens Bottom Road and Caulks Hill. That's also where two memorials have been set up by family and friends to mourn the loss of the 16-year-old high school student.
Candles, flowers, and hockey sticks mark the spot where Clayton Newell died Monday evening. Newell was a sophomore at Frances Howell North High School, where he played on the junior varsity hockey team.
Investigators say he was riding in a car with three other teens Monday night a little before 7:30 p.m. when he was ejected. Deputies believe the driver of the vehicle was hill jumping.
"They lost control on one of the hills and went off the road into an embankment where the car flipped several times, end over end, and rolled," said Lt. David Tiefenbrunn with the St. Charles County Sheriff's Office.
If you're not familiar with hill jumping, it's when drivers escalate their speed as they approach a hill, with the hopes of going airborne. St. Charles County deputies say in Monday night's case, the vehicle landed nose first and proceeded to flip.
"Yes we've had many teenagers involved in fatal accidents over the years, going for thrill rides on country roads trying to hill jump," said Lt. Tiefenbrunn.
Lt. Tiefenbrunn says Greens Bottom Road is an area teens will often visit to hill jump because of the dips in the road.
As far as Monday night's accident, the driver and two other passengers sustained serious injuries.
Deputies say none were wearing seatbelts. Investigators also say they also believe drugs were in the car, and may have been a factor in the accident.
"We are also extending our investigation to the possibilities of including the illegal use of narcotics or the possession of narcotics," said Lt. Tiefenbrunn.
Investigators say they're trying to determine exactly how fast that vehicle was going and whether or not the driver was under the influence of drugs. They say depending on the outcome of that investigation, there may be charges to follow.