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Coaches, Friends Remember Falmouth Students Involved In Deadly Crash

FALMOUTH (CBS) – The Falmouth High School hockey and football coaches described the players involved in a deadly crash as best friends who were leaders in the community.

Seniors James Lavin and Owen Higgins had just left practice Thursday night when the car they were in crashed only a mile and a half away.

higgins and lavin
James Lavin and Owen Higgins. (Images Credit: Falmouth Clippers/Facebook)

Lavin, who was driving, was killed instantly. Friday afternoon, Higgins died as a result of his serious injuries, according to Falmouth Police.

Both students were teammates on the Falmouth High School hockey and football teams.

Friday night, a Christmas tree and candles lighting up a growing memorial paying tribute to the two Falmouth High School seniors, star athletes and all around good guys.

"It's really sad. I still kind of remember my best friends last words and stuff to me. It stinks really," Nolan Esseguess said.

Esseguess has called Owen Higgins and James Lavin his buddies since 5th grade.

"It's hard to realize something like this. I feels like a bad dream and you don't really know how to take it. It takes awhile so."

Nolan and several others stopping by the memorial on Thomas Landers Road Friday evening.

For Nolan, it's that outpouring of support from the community that's helping him stay strong.

"A lot of friends and family there we all got together. I think that's really gonna help out town as a whole."

Throughout the day, others leaving a hockey jersey, a medal and flowers as they comfort one another and cope with the tragic loss of their classmates.


Students gathered at the school's football field on Friday in an emotional tribute to their classmates.

Head hockey coach Paul Moore and football coach Derek Almeida spoke about the contributions Lavin and Higgins made both in athletics and beyond.

falmouth hockey coach
Paul Moore, Falmouth High School hockey coach, talks about two players who were involved in a deadly crash. (WBZ-TV)

Moore called Higgins and Lavin "incredible leaders" who were best friends and "connected at the hip."

"Two remarkable young men who put their footprint on their community," said Moore. "Not just in the classroom, not just in the ice arena, not just on the football field. Two extraordinary kids who had a lot of heart and a lot of character. Guys that I was proud to coach."


In the hockey locker room, Lavin and Higgins' lockers are located next to each other.

Moore said practice ended Thursday night at 6:10 p.m. Just 30 minutes later, the coach received a phone call about the crash.

When asked how the hockey team would proceed with its upcoming games, Moore said he would take it day by day.

"Hockey doesn't matter right now," said Moore.

falmouth vigil
Falmouth High School students mourn the death of a classmate killed in a crash following hockey practice. (WBZ-TV)

Almeida said it will be important for the community to come together following the tragic events.

"It just shouldn't happen like this. I'm just so sorry for those families," said Almeida. "We're going to stay together, and try to get through this somehow."


According to his obituary, Lavin planned to continue playing football in college and pursue a career in business.

A wake is planned for Monday, followed by a funeral on Tuesday.

"James was the best person we knew and left us too soon," the obituary reads.

Falmouth Football Coach
Falmouth High School football coach Derek Almeida addresses a crash involving two of his players. (WBZ-TV)

Both Higgins and Lavin were key members of Almeida's football team, which won the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium on December 3.

"I really love those kids. They did so much more for me than I could ever do for them," said Almeida. "This is a tough moment for us as people, as a community and as a football team. I'm just heartbroken for their families."

An online fundraising page in Lavin's name already has received more than $36,000 in donations.

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