Community shares fond memories of three killed in Morris crash

MORRIS – Three Chenango County men were confirmed dead following an accident in Morris Saturday. The community joined together to show their love for those lost.

Jordan Crandall, 22, of Norwich, Christopher Brissette, 22, of Sherburne, and Dillon Clemens, 21, of Norwich were involved in a one-car motor vehicle accident in the early morning hours of Sept. 3, 2016.

New York State Police Public Information Officer Nathan Riegal confirmed that a 911 call was made at approximately 3:14 a.m.

State Police Sergeant Michael Woytach said the accident occurred on State Route 23, when the car was said to have left the roadway.

State Police said Otsego County Coroner Terry Knapp would be able to provide additional information regarding the accident, however when the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office was called for the coroner’s contact information, that request was denied “per the coroner.”

Authorities said the Morris Fire Department and Morris EMS squad responded to the scene.

The incident is still under investigation.

A celebration of life was held in Plymouth on Sunday for the young men.

“They were good souls and they sure were loved,” said Tomas Gager. “Forever missed, but never forgotten.”

“Dillon was the smartest, brightest, loving, caring person in the world. He would do anything for anybody, didn't matter when or what time. He was right there,” said Corinne Brink, mother of Clemens. “He was always on the move, if he wanted to do something he did it. I've never met a soul with so much ambition, and motivation to do what he loved. There was never a dull moment when Dillon was around, he made the best out of everything he could. Nothing could get in his way, he was too strong and caring to let anything evil come into the picture. He loved everyone almost as much as everyone loved him. He brought so much light to anyone that crossed his path.”

Sage Collins, girlfriend of Crandall, shared many memories.

“Jordan was my best friend and my boyfriend. We only were together for nine months but, my God, were we so in love,” Collins said. “We both would do anything for each other. He would do absolutely anything to keep me happy and keep me smiling. If it was moving down to Florida with me to be with me, or making me food in the middle of the night.”

“He was the light of my life, we had future plans together to start a beautiful family and every night he would whisper in my ear and squeeze me so tight and say, ‘I can't wait to have a baby and spend the rest of our lives together that's all I want, babygirl.’ And that would melt my heart every time,” said Collins. “We had our ups and downs like every couple has, but we always found a way to get through it and work on things because we loved each other. All he ever wanted was for me happy and I wanted the same for him. The thing that hits my heart the most is how I went to Florida and I only wanted to stay for a month but one day I called him crying and saying I just want to come home and be with him because I missed him and didn't want to be without him and he said, ‘No baby, stay down there it will be good for you,’ and then I started crying harder and said, ‘No baby, I can't do it without you,’ and he said, ‘I know baby, that's why I'm coming down there to live with you so we can start a life together down there.’ … So of course I stayed. A week later he rode his crotch rocket 19 hours all the way down to Florida jut to be with me. That right there showed me how much he really cared about me. But I was so nervous the whole time. I couldn't believe he really did it. He drove all that way on his bike just so we could be together and start a life together it melted my heart.”



“All three of those boys had huge hearts and nothing but good intentions,” said friend Chase Webb. “Dillon was the one always going out of his way to help anyone he possibly could. Like you, dislike you, or simply not even know you. If you needed help with something or he saw you struggling he was right there by your side with nothing but open arms. He was such a fun and loving person to be around.”

Webb recalled, “I remember on multiple occasions when I was struggling or upset he'd turn my mood completely around with his goofy sense of humor and outgoing personality. He made it a point that if I ever needed somewhere to go to get my mind off things I was more then welcome in his home. As a matter a fact, I spent a couple nights at his house the night before they got into that tragic accident. He was a hard working, honest man and anyone who knew him would say so too.”

“I will always remember growing up with Dillon, riding bikes, skipping school, and hanging out every single day,” said Trent Stone. “He was the one I looked up to and who I would go to if I ever needed anything. Dillon was my best friend and I will never forget my 21st birthday because of him. We always had the best times when our whole group was together. All three of these boys will forever be in my heart and on my mind. Squad will forever hold on to your memories, so rest easy until the day comes when we can laugh and joke again.”

A cousin of Clemens said, “Dillon Clemens is my cousin and he had a heart of gold. He was always willing to lend a helping hand and was a great brother, step brother, and son.”

Friend Andrew Shepler shared his memories with the men as well. “Me and Dillon go way back, always having the time of our lives, riding bikes and hanging out. We made the best times out of nothing. He was always there for me when I was down or needed help, and he always welcomed everyone with open arms. He was a heck of a guy, I’m really going miss him calling me ‘Sheppy' when he saw me and always slapping me on the back of the neck and flicking me in the neck.”

Bri Ray, another friend, also shared memories of ‘throat flicks.’

“I will never forget the throat flick I got every night when he walked into work, followed by a hug,” Ray said. “The car rides we shared. He always picked on me, but always showed love. Walking into his home and having everyone just giggling and have a great time.”

Lauren Fitch said, “Anytime you were sad or mad about something, Dillon would come up and flick you in the throat. I know that all of us would be getting them from him if we saw him now. He was such a great kid, even if you were fighting with him he'd always make you laugh.”

Shepler continued to share memories of Brissette and Crandall, “Chris, when we went trail riding and I only had two wheel drive, he pulled me up the hill in his Jeep and once I got up front of him, I got stuck and he had to push me through the rest of the trail. He was always telling me ‘give ‘er hell bud.’ And Jordan was always telling me to ‘run it bud,’ and was always giving me a hand working on my vehicles if I needed it. I wish I could just spend one more night with them.”

Of Crandall and Brissette, Ray shared, “I remember him staying the night and making some mean egg sandwiches with Grady and Rachelle. And just laying there talking about everything and anything. And having Chris and Jordan over to make brownies that we didn't cook fully but tasted great. Chris was picking on my 3 four-legged fur babies. He wasn't a fan of my kitties. Forever they were the best parts of our friend gatherings we always had.”

Carrie Nixon said, “Chris worked at the shop. I called him my little teddy bear. He was just in the other day picking up parts. I still can't believe it. So many hearts, for so many. He worked his butt off. He was in his glory with a wrench in his hand.”

Friend Zachary Kirchbaum shared, “Jordan Crandall and I spent the majority of our younger teenage years attached at the hip. I’ve known Jordan almost 13 years. He had enough life in him for 10 people, always living it to the fullest – no hesitation. But behind all that energy was one of the warmest hearts I’ve ever met, always stuck by me when times were rough and I just hope he knows how much I appreciate everything he did for me when I was in need.”

Said Webb, “Chris and JoJo were both also amazing people to be around and always knew how to put a smile on someone's face! I was good friends with all 3 boys but I happened to grow up with Dillon's little brothers and was always at his house spending time with him and his family who treated me like I was their own.”

Sammy Smith, a friend of Crandall said, “Jordan was like my little brother. 14 years old hanging out with a group five years older than him. He was so amazing and we taught him so much, but he also gave us a love no one could replace. Our whole group took care of him from the time he was little on … he stayed at our houses, I treated him like he was my child, he was always looking for mud or fun but was the first one to give you a hug when you were down and the first to put a smile on your face.”

“Jordan was a hard worker. I have known him since he was a baby. He would do anything for anyone,” added Carinda Laureanti.

Sky Wilchynski said of Crandall, “Jordan loved derbys and trucks so much. He was more redneck than anyone I know. Always wanted to be in the mud with something.”

Cat Myers shared, “Honestly were such amazing people. They made me laugh and just have the best days. I remember going to parties with them and having them make me feel welcomed. I was closer to Dillon, but I loved the three so much.”

Regarding Clemens, Collins said, “Dillon was my first love. I fell in love with him when I just turned 15. I was a freshman and he was a senior. We met through mutual friends and the first time I met him I fell right in love with him. With that little half smile, smirk he always had. That is what got me. We dated for about two years. He was the sweetest man and he had the biggest heart. He would do anything for anyone. I broke his heart so many times and I regret it everyday even before this accident I regretted it everyday. He was the sweetest man and loved me so much. No matter what we went through we couldn't help but smile every time we saw each other. We would always love and care about each other. We have so many memories together that I will never forget. He was my first prom date and my first love.”

Another friend shared, “This loss will effect all walks of life in the area, whether some believe it or not – anyone at the lantern vigil Sunday evening would have first-hand known that. No matter where you're from and how you grew up, nothing beats the gravitational pull that a good heart has, and these boys had it. These young men would be the first to try to improve anyone's bad day, no matter who you were or what was casting shadows on you. Dillon’s light sense of humor and goofy demeanor could improve anyone's mood whether you wanted to smile or not. Chris could always say something side splitting to get you laughing- just listen to one of his videos! Jordan, as many of his closer friends will be able to vouch for, was just there for people. An ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. He was also always laughing, and what a contagious laugh it would be! They were the last ones you could ever accuse of being selfish, and that's something that no matter what, nobody can take away from them. Dillon, Chris, and Jordan were three young men with hearts of absolute gold. It's a different kind of hollowing pain when you grow up with someone and lose them young, something similar perhaps of when only half of your class turns up at your fifty year reunion. An eerie, resonating feeling that leads everyone to live a little more and love a little deeper.”

A woman shared, “My husband knew all three boys, they all went to school together. Dillon loved riding bike and flying in the air. Jordan loved derby cars. And Chris was finishing his square body Chevy and us friends are going to finish his truck for him.”

Andrea Karns said of Clemens, “I have a Dillon memory that I hold so dearly to my heart. When Marlie [Karns’ daughter] was about 18 months old, Corinne, Dillon, Johnny and Matty all moved down to North Carolina to live with me. They (like everyone else) loved to get Marlie laughing. It was the best. Anyway, one night, Dillon was dancing around the living room a little and of course, she started laughing. But, then, Dillon started making [funny noises] and dancing. There weren't many times in her life that she laughed as hard as Dillon could. I know that was a beautiful reunion when Dillon joined her in heaven. For as looking as I live, that will be one of my favorite memories.”

Gager said thus far, $1,000 has been raised for the families. Further information regarding ways to contribute as they are made available.

Collins added, “He (Crandall) was the sweetest boy and had the biggest heart. He could always make me happy just by being in my life. I miss him so much more and more everyday I am so used to spending every minute of the day with him. I am so lost without the love of my life.”

Webb concluded, “The fact I'll never get to talk to or make another memory with any of them is what really hits home and breaks my heart. It still doesn't feel real and I can't seem to bring myself to believe it... There will always be spot in my heart for JoJo, Chris, and Dillon. One day I'll see you guys again so until then I hope you're having the time of your life up there with your family. It's never goodbye so until then ... I'll see you guys later.”

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