Middletown, New York teen heading to prom dies in car accident

May 24, 2013 1:28:00 PM PDT
State police say a 17-year-old driver heading to a high school prom has been killed after his car collided with a tractor-trailer on a Hudson Valley highway.

Armando Colon was in the prime of his young life.

An honors student at Middletown High School, his dream was to become an officer in the U.S. Marines.

Now, those dreams will not realized.

"He was the best son anyone could ask for. He was very respectful. He always wanted to help and he died saving his friends," said Elicia Hendrickson, victim's mother.

Elicia Hendrickson and her husband Patrick, hold tight to that loving memory of Armando Colon. He was a young man whose young life held so much promise.

"He was a born leader. He inspired everyone he was around and only pushed other to go further and better," Patrick Hendrickson said.

Last night, the handsome 17-year-old high school junior had a new suit and tie, and was heading to what should have been a happy night, meeting his date at the prom.

State police say Armando was traveling with three others in his car, coming off of Route 17, and was about to merge onto Interstate 84 westbound.

When suddenly, investigators say, he made contact with the rear wheels of a tractor trailer.

"The car careened off the tires and ended up in a grassy knoll," said Captain Joseph Tripodo, NY State Police, "[It was a] combination of wet roads, driver inexperience and going too fast for the conditions."

Armando apparently took the brunt of the accident, the three others suffered minor injuries.

"His last words to his friends were, 'Tell my family that I will be looking over them,'" Elicia Hendrickson said.

At Middletown High School, Armando entered the ROTC and had dreams of going to college and then to an officers candidate school for the Marines.

"He knew it would advance his career and give him college credits. And get him out there and really set forth," Patrick Hendrickson said.

"Every Tuesday when we had uniform day he would always tell other students about his badges and ribbons from ROTC," said Roberto Soriano, a classmate.

"That's what he pushed for. He has a whole rack of medals from his ROTC uniform and that's what he is going to be buried in," Patrick Hendrickson said.

Colon was taken to Orange Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. A 19-year-old man riding in the front passenger seat was treated for minor injuries. Two backseat passengers weren't hurt.