YORKSHIRE – The community continues to mourn the loss of two teens killed in a Cattaraugus County crash over the weekend.
New York State Police say the crash happened on West Yorkshire Road around 9:45 p.m. Sunday.
As a result of the crash two teens, later identified as 2021 graduates of Pioneer School Nate Schwartz and Alex Schenk, were killed.
WNY News Now’s storm chaser, Mitch Bellinger, is Schwartz’s cousin who spoke with us Thursday about the accident, and how his family is doing.
Bellinger said the last months have been very tough for his family, with Schwartz’s mom recently losing her cancer fight and Bellinger’s wife grandfather passing away too.
“I kind of just said, hey it comes in threes, what’s next? And this was just not even thought of, so it’s tough but they definitely lean on each other and lots of support coming through. My phones going off every minute,” said Bellinger.
When asked if he knew what cause the crash, Bellinger said.
“We are in constant communication with the sheriff’s department, and the troopers, who keep saying take about 8 to 12 weeks before we even get an answer of what exactly happened,” said Bellinger.
“I know there was a very long skid mark and then the tree that he hit, the car wrapped around it,” furthered Bellinger.
Since then, online fundraisers have raised a substantial amount of money.
“Both GoFundMe pages are right neck and neck, so just over $25,000 right now, and only a couple days in,” said Bellinger. “I cannot say enough about the pioneer community. Even outside that, there’s people around here because they know me donating and it’s absolutely incredible.”
Bellinger also recalled his cousin, who he says was a young pillar in the community.
“We were at his grad party a month ago and I just remember saying ‘man that I remember like yesterday your mom was saying she was pregnant with you’ and then this,” said Bellinger. “Having to pass that house that I heard that at on the way to the crash site, so that was super tough. But Nate just had a heart of gold, loved everyone, very determined. I don’t think that boy had any enemies, you know.”
Bellinger says the same goes for Alex.
“I unfortunately didn’t get the time to really know Alex, but I met him at the grad party, and I’m glad I did. I was at least able to shake his hand and introduce myself. They both are just always there for the community. The wrestling team, there’s just pictures showing the outpouring of love from the wrestling team and all the moms that are handling the GoFundMe pages and stuff,” furthered Bellinger. “But Nate was just, he was so adventurous, he was so determined, he was about to leave for college to become a lineman, and unfortunately that’s not gonna happen. Both of them are just great boys.”
Bellinger goes on to say he hopes the community will respect the family by not jumping to conclusions and speculating what caused the crash, but rather, wait for law enforcement to release their full report.