LEWISTON – At precisely 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, a horn sounded at the intersection of Canal and Lisbon streets. It was at that hour a week before that Kenny Jellison was killed there in a car crash.
More than 200 people gathered at the intersection in vigil Wednesday night to memorialize the Auburn teenager. And while it was a grim anniversary, those who gathered were mostly upbeat. They shared fond memories of Jellison, whom they described as a happy teen who would have wanted more merriment than mourning.
“He was a good guy to have around in a bad situation,” said 17-year-old Andrew Ziehn, an Edward Little High School student and a friend of Jellison. “He could always cheer you up. He could always make you laugh.”
Those who gathered, most of them teenagers, seemed to orbit around a metal light pole next to the roadway. It was there that the 18-year-old died after a car he was a passenger in crashed after skidding out of control.
But few people discussed details about the crash Wednesday, having done so many times over the past week. Instead, the students mingled with each other and with Jellison’s family. They remained almost jovial throughout the vigil.
“There are so many people from so many different groups here tonight,” said 16-year-old Katie Kennedy, another EL student. “Even kids who graduated last year came out.”
The diversity among the group, Jellison’s friends said, was a mark of how popular he was. “He was liked by everybody,” said 15-year-old Jessica Pomerleau.
Jellison’s father, Kenny Sr., spoke briefly to the crowd before the vigil got under way and thanked the gatherers for coming. At 9:30 p.m., he stood solemnly as a horn attached to a generator issued a short burst to mark the hour of his son’s death. There was a moment of relative silence before the group continued memorializing their friend’s life.
“He had very good friends,” said Terry Nutter, Jellison’s aunt. “We are all like that. We’re sort of a goofy family.”
The gathering lasted less than an hour. Jellison’s father encouraged friends of his son to clean up the area, to thank police for showing up to help control traffic, and to show respect by not squealing tires on the way out.
Jellison was killed when a car driven by 17-year-old Kyle Karkos of Auburn crashed into the metal pole. Police have said since the night of the crash that speed was a factor.
No charges have been filed.
“We are still waiting for the results from the crash reconstruction from Maine State Police,” said Lewiston police Lt. Tom Avery. “Once we have the results from that, we will forward the report to the District Attorney’s Office.”
Police said they are still interviewing witnesses and looking into reports that Karkos was racing with another car in the moments before the crash.
At the vigil Wednesday night, few people, if any, were pondering the cause of the crash. There was no blame to be heard. At the gathering, it was all about Jellison and the collective memories of his friends and family.
“He was just an overall great kid,” Ziehn said.
By 10 p.m., it was mostly quiet again at Canal and Lisbon streets. Not a single driver of a single car squealed his tires on the way out.