URI football player killed in New Jersey crash

Provided by the University of Rhode Island

MAHWAH, N.J. (AP/WPRI) — State police say two former star high school athletes were killed in a crash on an interstate highway in northern New Jersey.

The bodies of Samuel Cali and Leonidas Vagias were found around 9:15 a.m. Monday by a state transportation department worker in the woods near I-287 southbound in Mahwah. Authorities believe the crash occurred overnight and that the 19-year-old Towaco residents were ejected from their vehicle.

Vagias and Cali graduated from Don Bosco Prep last year. Vagias was a kicker/punter with the University of Rhode Island football team — although he didn’t play in any games this past season — while Cali was a wrestler at Rutgers University.

Both schools issued statements mourning their deaths and citing them as hard workers.

“Leo was a quality young man who was taken too soon,” Rhode Island Head Coach Jim Fleming said. “He was a hard worker with a bright future, and he made a great impression on all of us during his time here. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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