Students at Desert Mountain High School are talking to crisis counselors about the traffic death of a peer, a district service far too common at the Scottsdale school.
The community is grieving the loss of a popular student athlete — the school’s third traffic-related death since December — as students prepare to start classes next week.
Phillip Jacob Staun III, 16, and Martin Bonilla, 38, a Mesa father of three, were killed in a head-on collision Friday at Shea Boulevard just west of Saguaro Boulevard in Fountain Hills.
Students have been meeting with counselors, and football players have been talking to their coach.
For senior Natasha DiMarco, 17, the news of another death was shocking.
"It’s terrible. It does make us value our lives more, our young lives," she said. "Sometimes we think, ‘Oh, my God, our lives are so terrible, things are so hard,’ but then something like that hits, and it just makes you reconsider."
While DiMarco wasn’t friends with Staun, Daniel Konchan, 16, or Edward Yankowski Jr., 15, who died in car crashes last school year, the news hit hard.
Football coach Craig Cobley said, "It’s a real reality check from everybody who knew Phil, to (those who) only sat next to him in class."
Staun was on his way to Payson with three other 16-year-old Desert Mountain students. Chad Barnes and D.J. Steinberg have been released from the hospital, and Tanner Peyton is listed in good condition.
"It’s a real loss, and we all feel it, so like any family we’re going to go through the healing process," said Cobley, who met with players and parents Saturday night.
P.J. Staun, the teen’s father, has opened a memorial fund in his son’s name to establish a scholarship and award for the most dedicated member of the school football team, he said. The fund is available for donation at all Wells Fargo branches.
A Martin Bonilla memorial fund can be accessed at any Bank One branch under account No. 636442105.
• Visitation for Phillip Jacob Staun III’s is 5 to 8 p.m. today at Messinger Pinnacle Peak Mortuary, 8555 E. Pinnacle Peak Road, Scottsdale. Another visitation will be 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at St. Patrick Community Church, 10815 N. 84th St., Scottsdale. Services will be 10 a.m. Thursday at the church.