Benefit held for families of two Pickaway Co. teens killed in head-on crash

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PICKAWAY COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) – A community is rallying to support for the families of two teens killed in a crash Aug. 17 near Circleville.

Hundreds gathered Sunday at the South Bloomfield VFW for breakfast, t-shirt sales and a motorcycle ride benefiting the families of Joshua Fyffe, Jr. and Vladyslav Gaidai.

“I believe it’s because they’re still with us. And they wouldn’t want you to be sad or feel any of that pain. You can’t focus on that,” said Sophie Evans, a friend of both teens.

They were driving on U.S. 23 north of Circleville last Saturday when they were hit by a wrong-way driver. Fyffe died on the scene and Gaidai was taken off life support Wednesday.

Fyffe’s cousin, Robert Stacy said, “They’re in a better place now, but it hurts to see their seats gone, empty. That’s the worst part — to see their seats empty.”

Fyffe, 17, planned to be a teacher after high school. Friends said he was always joking and trying to make people laugh.

Fyffe’s girlfriend, Mikaela Chaffin said, “He could just walk in a room and you’re just suddenly laughing. There were no bad moments with him, no sad moments with him.”

Gaidai, 17, was spending the school year at Teays Valley High School from his native Ukraine. He was in an exchange program in eighth grade and decided to return to the U.S. after finishing Ukrainian secondary school.

“It was so easy to be his friend and just being able to say I was Vlad’s friend is such a privilege,” said friend Estrella Pena.

Hundreds showed up for Sunday’s benefit, many of whom only did not personally know the teens. The proceeds from the ride, an auction and t-shirt, and bracelet sales will all benefit both families.

“It restores some humanity,” said organizer Alicia Hoefer. “Everybody in the community, the school district, just the backup from everybody that we’ve received has been great.”

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