MPO it's reason like this why new drivers should not be driving sports cars like this. They have no sense of responsibility, and nearly took 2 other young lives. Student killed, two injured in car crash NORTH HIGH: Sophomore Matthew Neal Clark "had a wonderful life ahead of him." 02/19/2003 By MARLOWE CHURCHILL and JOSE ARBALLO JR. THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE HIGHGROVE - A sophomore at John W. North High School was killed and two classmates injured Tuesday when their car, traveling about 100 mph, left a winding road and landed upside down in a rock-lined creek bed, authorities said. The crash is the latest in a string of accidents that has left several Inland teens dead. Matthew Neal Clark, 16, of Corona was pronounced dead about 12:30 p.m. at the crash site on Pigeon Pass Road, according to Riverside County coroner's officials. Passengers Joaquin Maya and Jorge Esquivel, both 16, suffered minor injuries and were taken to Riverside Community Hospital, the California Highway Patrol said. The CHP said Clark apparently lost control of the Ford Mustang Cobra at a curve about one-half mile east of Mount Vernon Avenue, east of Riverside. "He kept going, faster, faster, faster," said Jeffrey Skaggs. "I saw the curve coming, and I thought, 'He's not hitting the brakes.' " Skaggs, a Forest Falls contractor, said he heard the roar of the engine on Pigeon Pass Road just west of the Highgrove landfill about 12:30 p.m. He spotted the Cobra accelerating down the winding two-lane road, he said. Skaggs said he heard the car crash, then realized it had disappeared off the roadway and probably couldn't be spotted by passing motorists. He called 911 and then drove to the accident scene, finding one of the youths sitting on the road. CHP Officer Gregory Sotello said the three youths were wearing seat belts. It took paramedics several hours to extricate the Clark's body from the wreckage, which was about 20 feet below the roadway. The 2003 Cobra was so damaged that the make and model could not be identified from the road. Ford's Web site lists the Cobra as a limited-edition model for car enthusiasts. The six-speed, 390-horsepower vehicle can cost up to $37,000. Sotello said the car was traveling so fast that it was airborne for about 260 feet after it missed the curve. He said it appeared the car rolled several times, struck a tree and landed on its roof. Campus in mourning North High School Principal Dale Kinnear spent most of the afternoon on the phone with authorities trying to find out more about the accident. The school does not allow students to leave the campus for lunch, and Kinnear did not know why the students were out of school Tuesday. He planned to visit all three students' homes Tuesday evening. "He had a wonderful life ahead of him," Kinnear said of Matthew. "We're all in shock. Tomorrow, when we see his empty desk, we're all going to cry." The two students who survived the accident were supposed to be released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon, Kinnear said. The students, a sophomore and a junior, were both on the school's swim team. "They're great kids," Kinnear said. "College-going kids." Matthew was in the school's International Baccalaureate Program, an accelerated academic program geared toward top students. Crisis counselors will be available today for students and teachers who need them, Kinnear said. Other accident deaths Seven Inland teens have now lost their lives to auto crashes in the past three months. Last week, three Banning High School students were killed when the car they were riding in rolled over on Highway 111 outside Palm Springs. Tiffany Lamb, Rosalie Hernandez and Danielle Peterson, all 17, had planned to graduate in June. A fourth student, 17-year-old Sabrina Joyce, was critically injured. In January, Loy Moon, 18, and Christopher Gray, 17, both of Yucaipa, died after the 2003 Lexus they were riding in crashed into a tree on Oak Glen Road. Moon was a senior at Yucaipa High School, while Gray was a senior at Mesa Grande Academy, a private school in Calimesa. Investigators initially said the car had been traveling at high speed at the time of the accident. In December, 17-year-old Grant Nunnally, a champion cross-country runner from Woodcrest Christian High School, died from injuries suffered when the pickup he was driving collided with several other vehicles as he left soccer practice. While new graduated driver license programs are being credited for helping reduce teenage deaths in traffic accidents, authorities say young motorists still face challenges to driving. "In some cases, they only have a few months of driving experience," said Jim Whitney, public affairs officer for the California Highway Patrol in Riverside. "It's sometimes a matter of maturity. They like to show off and drive too fast." Staff writer Maria T. Garcia contributed to this report. Marlowe Churchill can reached by email at [email protected]. Jose Arballo Jr. can reached by email at [email protected].