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Two YSU students killed in crash

Two others injured; all 4 are natives of Sierra Leone capital

Two Youngstown State University international students were killed and two more were injured in a one-car accident Friday on Interstate 76 in Portage County.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Ravenna, a 2003 Honda Accord driven by Muctar B. Kamara was traveling east on I-76 near mile marker 50 in Palmyra Township when it went off the left side of the road and into the grass median at 6:35 p.m.

The driver over-corrected and swerved across both eastbound lanes before going off the right side of the road, where the car overturned and struck multiple trees before coming to rest on its roof.

A backseat passenger, Nekian F. Sesay, 19, died at the scene as a result of injuries sustained. Kamara was transported to University Hospitals Portage and died of injuries sustained in the crash, the patrol report states.

Two other passengers — Imran Sawaneh, 19, and Aicha A. Sawaneh, 20 — sustained nonlife-threatening injuries. Aicha Sawaneh was transported by Life-Flight to Akron City Hospital. Imran Sawaneh was taken to UH Portage by ambulance.

All four are natives of Freetown, Sierra Leone, and students at YSU.

In a statement released Saturday, YSU President Jim Tressel said, “On behalf of the entire Penguin family, we express our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of the two deceased students, and lift up our prayers and hopes for the two injured students.”

YSU’s International Student Association posted to its Facebook page, “We are completely speechless and saddened by this tragic accident that took away our beloved friends. They have been amazing friends and students … Please keep them in your thoughts and pray for our friends.”

And a statement posted by the YSU Student Government Association read, “Our hearts are heavy for the families and friends that lost someone last night. Losing a loved one so early is a devastating and unimaginable experience.

“As Penguins we mourn the loss of two of our own. As a family, we are there for each other as we help their family and friends process this very traumatic experience together.”

The crash still is under investigation. Preliminary investigation shows that neither Sesay nor Aicha Sawaneh were wearing seat belts, and it appears either speed or driver distraction may have been a factor in the accident.

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