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Oregon High coping with death of student hit by semi

17-year-old hit by a semi; Rice played football for the school

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Weslee Rice

OREGON – Grief counselors were on hand at Oregon High School on Sunday evening and Monday to offer comfort to students in the wake of the death of a classmate hit by a semi-tractor trailer early Saturday.

Junior and football player Weslee Rice, 17, was struck around 1:30 a.m. as he was walking on the roadway in the 2600 block of West Pines Road near his home, about 2 miles west of Oregon. He was airlifted to MercyHealth Hospital (formerly Rockford Memorial Hospital), where he died.

Counselors spent 2 hours Sunday evening and all day Monday at the school, available to students and staff members, Superintendent Tom Mahoney said.

“Anytime you lose a young life, it breaks your heart. Myself, the staff, students, and the entire Oregon School District community are grieving the loss.”

Dakota L. Snyder, 21, of Mount Morris, was driving the semi, Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said in a news release Sunday. Snyder has not been cited; the investigation is ongoing.

An autopsy was conducted Monday. Toxicology results typically take 6 to 8 weeks.

Snyder, who according to his Facebook page is a Polo High School graduate and a truck driver for Buckshot Ridge Farms & Excavating in Leaf River, was taken to KSB Hospital, which does not release patients’ conditions.