Jason Rhodes was the youngest mayor in village history.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – The 28-year-old former mayor of East Syracuse was killed after the vehicle he was riding in plunged 30 feet off a highway overpass.

Jason Rhoades was traveling to Montreal to go snowmobiling when his GMC Envoy flipped over a guardrail on Interstate 81 in Syracuse Friday night. The vehicle landed on its roof, 30 feet below the highway.

At age 25 Rhoades was sworn in as the mayor of East Syracuse, the youngest mayor in village history. He had served on the village’s Board of Trustees at age 19 and had been a member of the East Syracuse School Board.

Rhoades left the mayor’s office last spring after a two-year term.

“He grabbed the bull by the horns,” Tony Albanese, a friend and former village trustee told the Post-Standard of Syracuse in Sunday’s editions. “We did things in two years (that) people couldn’t do in eight years.”

At 19, Rhoades finished work in two years for a dual bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance at Syracuse University. While finishing college, he launched his political career, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Richard Rhoades, East Syracuse’s mayor from 1985 to 1987.

During the teen’s first 100 days in elected office he balanced village business, a 30-credit course load at Syracuse University and an internship at Nynex.

Current Mayor Lorene McCoy Dadey, one of Rhoades’ former political opponents, said she respected his abilities.

“He had a lot of ambition,” Dadey said Saturday. “He was extremely intelligent. He really tried to accomplish many things. … It’s a tragic loss. It doesn’t matter what political side you’re on. … He was such a young, vibrant man.”

Rhoades is survived by his wife, Isabelle, and two children: Luke Nicholas, 21 months old, and Amelia Grace, 2 months.

AP-ES-01-24-04 2351EST

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