Driving School expresses condolences, Teen & instructor killed in crash

Waterville Police block off the intersection where a student driver and his instructor were killed on Monday.

A 16-year-old and his driving instructor died Monday after a collision with another vehicle.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, 48-year-old Thomas "Tom" Smith and 16-year-old Joseph "Joe" Franks both died at the scene.

Investigators say a Chevy Impala, driven by Franks, failed to stop at the intersection of Neapolis-Waterville Road and Heller Road around 2:30 p.m.

As a result, a Dodge Caravan, driven by 48-year-old Kathleen Woods, collided into the passenger side of the Impala.

All three were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash, according to investigators.

Mrs. Woods, of Swanton, was taken to St. Luke's after the accident but did not suffer any life-threatening injuries.

A website for

Key Driving School

lists Thomas "Tom" Smith as one of the company's five licensed driving instructors.

A friend of Franks also confirmed to WNWO, Monday night, that the teen was enrolled in the driving school adding that Smith was the teen's instructor. The driving school's manager, Bonnie Lech, told WNWO that the vehicle Franks was driving belonged to the school and was equipped with brakes for the instructor as well as the student.

Key Driving School posted a message to its

Facebook page

Monday night that read, "Please, Pray for the families that have been affected by this terrible tragedy. My heart cries out! Words cannot express the hurt I feel for those that are left to pick up the pieces."

As word of the crash spread, classmates of the Evergreen High School Junior took to Twitter and organized a plan to wear red to school Tuesday in Franks' honor.

Friends of Franks tell WNWO that the 16-year-old had attended Swanton High School as a freshman then transferred to Penta Career Center.

Another friend said Franks had not been at Evergreen for a long time but described him as "a happy guy" and "a man of no worries".

Evergreen High School Principal Mark Basilius has said administrators are aware of the tragedy and are making plans to deal with the crisis for staff and students.

A LinkedIn profile for Mr. Smith identifies the 48-year-old victim as the Pastor of Grace Bible Fellowship in Swanton.