UPDATE: Teen critical, another dead after car crashes into tree

A Center Grove area teen is dead and another is fighting for his life after their car crashed into a tree Thursday night.

Just after 7 p.m., the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and White River Township Fire Department were called to the 1600 block of South Paddock Road in Greenwood on the report of a single-vehicle accident. Callers reported the vehicle had struck a tree head on, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

When deputies arrived, they found a small Volkswagen hatchback into a tree on the west side of south Paddock Road, just north of Olive Branch Road. Firefighters had to extricate both teens from the vehicle, according to the news release.

The passenger, Austin James Norris, 16, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver, Hunter Wylie Riffle, 16, was taken to Sidney Lois Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, where he was in critical condition Friday afternoon, a hospital spokesperson said.

Witnesses told deputies the Volkswagen was southbound on Paddock Road at high speeds. The car went airborne and when it landed, lost control and struck the tree. The accident is still under investigation, but there is video evidence of the crash on the property owner’s security camera, according to the accident report.

The sheriff’s office is asking that anyone who witnessed the accident or saw a gray 2004 Volkswagen GTI hatchback with Indiana Sheriff’s Association plate LW1183 prior to the accident call the sheriff’s office at 317-346-4615 and refer to case number J21012242, the news release said.

The sheriff’s office is also looking to speak with the driver of a smaller-style light-colored gray SUV with some type of luggage container attached to the top. They may have witnessed the Volkswagen prior to the accident, according to the news release.

Center Grove High School sent an email to families Thursday night that one student had died and another was seriously injured.

“This is heartbreaking news for their families, friends and our CGHS family,” the email said.

Counselors were available Friday in the Guidance Office for any students or staff members who wished to speak with someone, the email said.