Families Make Funeral Arrangements For Teen Crash Victims

From left: Beau Begier, Ryan Pappas

Lives were altered forever after four teens crashed their car in Black Forest early Monday morning.

Two teens died at the scene, a third suffered serious injuries and the fourth, the driver, is in a juvenile facility waiting to learn if he'll be charged as an adult for vehicular homicide.

All were current or former students at Palmer Ridge High School in Monument, and all were high school seniors with their lives ahead of them. Barely 72 hours after the tragedy, family and friends told 11 News they are struggling to cope with the loss.

"He was a joy. There will always be a hole in my heart for him," Barbara Mulligan said. Mulligan is Ryan Pappas' grandmother. Pappas is one of the two teens who died Monday morning.

Mulligan worked with her grandson, described by friends as a "stud" baseball player, helping him hone his skills in hopes that he'd earn an athletic scholarship. She says she's grieving never seeing him walk the stage for graduation, and never achieving his dreams of playing college ball.

Sienna Abeyta, a friend of Beau Begier, told 11 News she was thankful that she spent his last day with him. Begier also lost his life in Monday's crash.

"I'm just happy we got to spend that day with Beau...I was with Beau since like 1 that day and throughout the whole day and it was a blessing just to be with him."

Begier left his vehicle at a park-and-ride in Monument. The car remains there, now a memorial to the boys who lost their loves. Friends have left messages, flowers and pictures.

Abeyta said the four boys involved in the crash were part of a tight-knit group of friends. Friends Jennifer Slaughter and Josie Lopez told 11 News that their group was like a family.

"We were all best friends, we hung out all of the time."

The group hung out in the hours before the crash. They were all at the party that the boys had been leaving when the accident happened.

"Everybody feels a little bit responsible," Tia Hemphill said. "But we can't think that way because so many things could have avoided it."

"They all made bad choices," Abeyta added.

"We just have to think positively and be happy we got to see them," Hemphill said, as Abeyta nodded in agreement.

There are still a lot of questions about the party, the teens' alcohol intake, and who provided the alcohol. Colorado State Patrol isn't saying a whole lot because it's an open investigation.

But even without concrete answers as to what happened that night, Pappas' grandmother said she hopes that others will learn from her grandson's death.

"Don't make that mistake [drinking and driving]. I think that's what happened to Ryan. All kids think they're infallible at that age, but they're not. This is a lesson for them."

Of the two surviving teens, the driver made his first appearance in court Tuesday, while 17-year-old Mitchell "Jack" Clark remains in serious condition, but is improving by the day. His friends told 11 News he is expected to make a full recovery. The Palmer Ridge principal says he hopes Clark will return to school in a few weeks.

The teen facing charges has not been identified, other than being a 17-year-old male attending school in Parker, Colo. He is currently being held in a juvenile facility without bond, and will find out Friday if he will be charged as an adult. His lawyer said if the suspect is charged as an adult, it will be felony charges.

"Very, very serious. That's all I can say."

A former prosecutor told 11 News the driver isn't the only one who could felony charges; if an adult gave the teens alcohol, that person could be charged with a felony of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The families of Pappas and Begier have begun making funeral arrangements. Begier's funeral will be on Saturday at 2 p.m. at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. Pappas' funeral is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. at Sunrise Methodist Church in Colorado Springs.