MADISON, CT (WFSB) -- Family and friends are remembering a Higganum teen who died in a crash over the weekend at Hammonasset Beach State Park.
The crash happened Saturday evening around 7 p.m., between the rotary and the ticket booth at the park.
Six people were inside the SUV involved, including 18-year-old Nick Proto.
He was taken to the hospital where he died.
Two others were ejected from the SUV, and the driver and four passengers were taken to nearby hospitals.
On Monday, friends stopped by a memorial at the crash site, leaving flowers and writing notes in remembrance of the teen.
“He loved to basically have fun, live life to the fullest,” said James Murphy, who was a friend of Protos.
Murphy said he couldn’t join Proto and their five friends on Saturday at the beach because he was working.
“I heard about the accident while I was at work over the police scanner. I didn’t think too much of it because it’s a police scanner,” Murphy said. “Eventually I heard about the accident and put two and two together.”
He said the group had just graduated from Haddam Killingworth High School this year.
“Well everybody realizes now this is the most important time to band together, especially for the ones who Proto touched which obviously is pretty much everybody,” Murphy said.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Environmental Conservation (Encon) Police are investigating what happened.
It’s not clear at this time if any criminal charges will be filed.
The community is pouring their support into a GoFundMe page that was set up, already having raised more than $20,000 for the teen’s funeral arrangements.
“Very outgoing kid, very, very nice person. Fun, bubbly, down to earth. You can kind of tell he had a lot of friends for a reason. His personality was wonderful, he’s definitely going to be missed in this town,” said Ryan Blaschke, of HK Dairy Barn in Higganum.
This loss also comes at a challenging time for the Haddam-Killingworth community that just experienced two other significant losses over the last couple years.
“Him and the teacher last year who passed away had a very special relationship. They were really close,” Murphy said.
An update on the crash investigation is expected later this week.