ROOSEVELT — He was born Carleton John Seeley III, but to his classmates and teachers at Roosevelt Junior High School, the boy whose smile could light up any room was known simply as C.J.
"He wasn't a really cliquey kid, hanging out with a certain group of kids. He was just a friend to everybody," said Roosevelt band director Scott Forsyth, who had the seventh-grader in two of his classes.
"He was a leader of the class," Forsyth said, describing Seeley as a kid with a "quirky" sense of humor.
"I like to tell jokes in class, and he was always one to share jokes back," he said. "He always had a smile on his face and a laugh."
Seeley, 12, was killed Thursday night when he was ejected from his mother's car following a crash on U.S. 40 near Vernal.
Investigators are still trying to determine what caused Angela Renee Davis, of Roosevelt, to cross into oncoming traffic about 4:45 p.m. They initially said her red Honda Civic crashed head-on with another Honda Civic, but revised their findings after studying the crash site Friday.
"We have determined since that it's now more of a T-bone crash," said Utah Highway Patrol trooper Matthew Pratt. "The vehicle traveling eastbound was sideways in the westbound lanes."
The broadside crash tore the red car in half, ejecting Davis and Seeley, who died at the scene.
An examination of the wreckage showed that neither Davis nor Seeley were wearing seat belts, Pratt said, before acknowledging that — given the amount of damage done to the car — it is unlikely that seat belts would have prevented the injuries the pair sustained.
Davis, 34, was critically injured in the crash and remains hospitalized at Intermountain Medical Center. The driver of the other car, 51-year-old Blair Kay, of Mona, was treated for minor injuries at Ashley Regional Medical Center, according to troopers.Comment on this story
Investigators suspect the crash may have been caused by a blown tire on Davis' car, but they still have work to do before reaching a final conclusion, Pratt said.
Meanwhile, students and staff at Roosevelt Junior High know the coming days are going to be tough ones.
"I had C.J. for guitar class and band, so I was asked this morning to gather his things (from his band locker)," Forsyth said. "It's probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.
"It'll definitely be different when Monday comes and he doesn't walk in to band," he said.