It wasn’t specifics of the car crash or the reasons Wilberto Pitre III tried to speed away from officers that was the focus at Loudoun Valley High School this week.
Students and staff members say they talked about the positive impact the upbeat 15-year-old made on his school community.
Pitre, a sophomore at Loudoun Valley, was killed early Sunday morning when he crashed into a parked car after trying to drive away from a deputy in Sterling. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger, a 15-year-old girl, was airlifted to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment of injuries described as serious but not life-threatening.
The incident began about 12:40 a.m. Nov. 22, on East Beech Road in Sterling. A deputy saw a vehicle driving without headlights on. She turned on the patrol car’s lights to indicate to Pitre that he should pull over. He turned on the vehicle’s lights and started to pull over, but then drove away. As the deputy pursued, Pitre again slowed to pull over, but then sped away.
Sheriff Mike Chapman said Pitre turned his car’s headlights off again, so the deputy lost site of him. She later came upon the crash near the area of East Beech Road and North Argonne Avenue. Pitre had crashed into a parked vehicle, which was then pushed into two other parked vehicles.
Chapman would not say exactly how fast Pitre was driving, but that it was “a very high rate of speed.”
He said he doesn’t know why the teen would run from the deputy, but it may be because he did not have a provisional license or learner’s permit.
This is the second time in less than a decade that a Loudoun teen was killed during a high-speed chase with law enforcement. In 2006, Shelby Huck tried to out-drive a deputy on Rt. 15 when she crashed near Rt. 704.
She was also a 15-year-old Loudoun Valley student.
“It’s rare that this happens, but the consequences are deadly,” Chapman said. “It’s a reminder of how motor vehicles can be a deadly weapon if you don’t have the proper training.” Those who knew Pitre described him as a happy kid and a good friend who was always there for others.
He was also a talented musician, said Rick Reaves, Loudoun Valley’s fine arts chair. He was in a band with friends and played saxophone, electric bass and was learning other instruments.
Reaves said class without Pitre this week was tough, but somehow students remained upbeat, just like he would have been.
“He was happy and supportive and always keeping everyone cheered up. He was just that kind of person,” he said. “That’s what we’re focusing on.”
Reaves is planning a benefit concert in Pitre’s memory. It is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, at Loudoun Valley High School, and proceeds will help with funeral costs.