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Wise High School endures second tragedy in one week

The school lost one of its students in a crash on Tuesday and another student in a shooting last week.

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — The community of Wise High School in Prince George's County, Maryland is enduring its second tragedy in just a week after a deadly crash Tuesday morning.

Around 9 a.m., first responders were called to Ritchie Marlboro and Dunsmore Terrace Road in regards to a crash reported in the area.

According to the Prince George's County Police Department, a vehicle crashed into a landscaping trailer that was parked on the side of the road.

Inside the vehicle were two 18-year-olds – a man and a woman.

The man, who was driving, was taken to an area hospital for treatment. His condition was only reported as "stable." The woman died at the scene. Police later identified the woman as Cayliy Haygood.

Both are students at Wise High School.

Upper Marlboro resident Jennifer Rios was one of the first people to respond to the crash.

“Grabbed our first aid kits and ran to the scene to administer any help we could give to the victims," she said.

Rios said she and others in the neighborhood have repeatedly asked for speeding to be addressed along Ritchie Marlboro Road.

The Prince George's County Department of Public Works and Transportation made the following statement regarding traffic safety along Ritchie Marlboro Road:

Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the loved ones of those that lost their lives or were injured in the crash that occurred at Marlboro Pointe Drive. DPW&T has had requests in the past regarding general speeding along Ritchie Marlboro Road, which is a major collector roadway. As you know, as this roadway is classified as a collector roadway, speed humps or any physical traffic calming device installation could not be considered as a mitigation effort. However, enforcement of the speed limit has been a priority along this roadway. 

DPW&T did install a traffic signal at N Riding Road not too far from the intersection at Marlboro Pointe Drive, and also modified pavement markings from N Riding Road to south of Marlboro Ridge Road to address speeding.  The Prince George’s County Police Department has also installed speed cameras along Ritchie Marlboro Road.  

We will continue to review and evaluate conditions on Ritchie Marlboro Road to see what additional safety improvements can be made, so we can work to effectively prevent people from speeding and prevent further loss of life.

Upper Marlboro Shooting

Just five days earlier, the school suffered another tragedy.

On Thursday, two teens were shot in Upper Marlboro in the area of Rock Spring Drive and Parkstone Drive. 

One of the teens, Michael Nwaulu, 17, of Upper Marlboro, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The second teen was taken to an area hospital where his condition was also only reported to be "stable."

Two Wise Tragedies

Nwaulu was also a student at Wise High School in Upper Marlboro.

On Tuesday, the principal addressed the tragedies to the schools community in a letter to families.

"We will remember his easygoing and carefree attitude," Wise Principal Taryn Washington says in the letter.

With the death of Nwaulu in the shooting and the unidentified 18-year-old in the crash, students may need help coping.

"We will do our best to comfort our Wise community during this challenging time. A support team of school psychologists and professional school counselors will be here to help students and staff work through their feelings. Counseling will be available as long as necessary," Washington wrote.

Washington shared tips for families coping with grief:

  • Speak to your child regarding the crisis and provide them with accurate information regarding the crisis in language they can understand. It is important to listen carefully to your child and show them that you understand their thoughts and feelings.
  • Give additional affection in the form of hugs and other physical contact.
  • Spend additional individualized time with your child. Try to structure your time with them by playing games, having discussions and going places. Focus your attention on your child.
  • Encourage your child to share their feelings.
  • Write a card, letter or draw a picture.
  • Ask your child how they are coping even though children often respond, “I am fine.” The fact that you ask will most likely be important to your child, even though they may not share or show their feelings at this time.

>Read Principal Washington's full letter below:

Matt Pusatory and John Henry contributed to the reporting of this story.

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