Air base mourns for car crash victim

By Dave GooderhamTRIBUTES have been paid to a popular teenager and future military officer who acted as a role model to his peers as commander of a junior training corps.

By Dave Gooderham

TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular teenager and future military officer who acted as a role model to his peers as commander of a junior training corps.

The death of Trey Vickroy has united both USAF air bases in Suffolk in grief - his father was a master sergeant at RAF Mildenhall and the 18-year-old attended Lakenheath High School.

Fellow pupils were offered counselling yesterday after the teenager died when his car collided with a tree on the B1107 road between Thetford and Brandon on Saturday.

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His passenger, John Headley, 18, whose father is based with the 352nd Maintenance Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, suffered serious head injuries.

He was described last night as in a “critical” condition by a spokeswoman at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

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Colonel Richard Devereaux, of RAF Mildenhall, led the tributes to Mr Vickroy, describing him as bright and popular.

He added: “The mood on the base is pretty sober. I would say in particular the real location to gauge the mood is at the high school where the students attended.

“The school is fairly small - with only about 600 students - and the senior class, where Mr Vickroy studied, is in deep grief.

“That is really the main focus of the grieving process and counselling has been offered to pupils to help them deal with their loss.”

Col Devereaux said Mr Vickroy was a varsity athlete who was looking forward to a four-year scholarship at a university in Iowa, America.

As commander of RAF Mildenhall's junior officer training corps, base officials said the teenager would have been expected to act as a role model to his peers.

The corps, likened to the English-style cadets, would have been the first rung of a successful military career.

Col Devereaux added: “Mr Vickroy has been described as one of the top students in his class. He was very popular and well-liked.

“His death is a tragedy for the whole community at both RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall.”

His family, including his father who is a master sergeant in the 100th Communication Squadron, were too upset last night to talk and were being comforted at their Mildenhall home.

Mr Vickroy died after his Volvo S60 apparently went out of control and collided with a tree just outside Thetford Golf Club at about 7.50pm on Saturday.

Nevil Calder, principal engineer at Norfolk County Council said: “Clearly the exact cause of the accident needs to be established.

“As with any fatal accident, we will need to await the outcome of the police inquiries and the coroner's inquest.

“What we can say at this stage, however, is this stretch of road is not an accident blackspot and there have been no similar accidents in the last six years.”

Anyone with information about the crash should contact Sgt Dave Cole, of Norfolk police, on 01953 424242.

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