YSU students killed in Portage County crash

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There were four people in a vehicle that went off Interstate-76 and flipped over Friday afternoon

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PALMYRA TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Two Youngstown State University students have died as a result of a crash in Portage County on Friday afternoon.

The crash happened at 6:35 p.m. on Interstate-76, just east of milepost 50.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Muctar B. Kamara was driving a 2003 Honda Accord eastbound on I-76 when the vehicle went off the left side of the roadway and into the grass median. Kamara overcorrected and swerved right, traveling across both of the eastbound lanes, investigators said.

The vehicle then went off the right side of the road, flipped over and struck several trees before coming to a rest on its roof.

Nekian F. Sesay, 19, was a passenger in the backseat. She died at the scene as a result of the crash.

Crews transported Kamara to UH Portage, where he died.

Imran Sawaneh, 19, and Aicha A. Sawaneh, 20, were also in the vehicle. Crews took them to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Highway Patrol is investigating the crash and believes speed or driver distraction factored into the crash.

Sesay and Aicha Sawanah weren’t wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, according to Highway Patrol.

The four are from Freetoon, Sierra Leone and are students at Youngstown State University.

YSU’s International Programs Office has notified the families of the students, as well as friends and fellow international students. Counseling is available to students and others seeking assistance.

“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,” read a statement on YSU’s website from President Jim Tressel.

Tressel also posted this message on YSU’s Facebook page:

On Sunday, YSU-OEA extended their condolences as well.

“We are incredibly saddened by the loss of our students and extend our deepest sympathies to their friends and family here and abroad,” Mark Vopat, YSU-OEA spokesperson, said. “We also extend our condolences to the two surviving students and hope they are able to find some solace during this incredibly difficult time.”

Any student in need of support is encouraged to reach out to YSU’s Student Counseling Services at 330-941-3737. You can find more information on services provided through this office online.

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