Best friends, NJ sports standouts died together in Route 287 crash
Two best friends were killed in a car that went off Route 287 in Mahwah early Monday morning.
New Jersey State Police said Samuel Cali, and Leonidas Vagias, both 19 and both of Towaco, were found Tuesday morning outside a blue Lexus that overturned off the side of the heavily wooded area near Route 208. They were discovered by a New Jersey Department of Transportation employee around 9:15 a.m.
Vagias and Cali graduated from Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey last year. Vagias was a kicker/punter with the University of Rhode Island football team — although he didn't play in any games this past season — while Cali was a wrestler at Rutgers University.
"We are heartbroken by the tragic death of our former students, Sam Cali and Leo Vagias. Both young men represented the heart and soul of Don Bosco Prep - men of character and joy, kindness and goodness. They were gifted student athletes, whose great promise was yet unrealized," wrote principal John Stanczak in a statement on the school's website, calling it a "profoundly sad day" for the school.
Rutgers Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Patrick Hobbs said in a statement the school was "extremely saddened" by Cali's death.
“Sam was a great young man who everyone on the team truly loved being around,” wrestling coach Scott Goodale said.
According to a tweet by Don Bosco assistant football coach Spencer Fox, a prayer vigil will be held Tuesday at the school.
"Leo and Sam were inseparable, they were best friends from day one," friend Zac Ciccones told ABC 7.
New Jersey State Police say they continue their investigation into the incident continues.
The Associated Press contributed to this report