Mother of Pickaway County teen killed in wrong-way crash honors son through scholarship

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Josh Fyffe and Vlad Gaidai, both 17, were killed when their car was hit by a wrong-way driver on US-23 in Pickaway County in August (WSYXWTTE)

The roadside memorial for Josh Fyffe and Vlad Gaidai, who died after their car was hit by a wrong-way driver, still stands along Highway 23 in Pickaway County, and it has grown.

Josh’s mother, Stefani Schooley shared how she plans to honor her son even further in a way that helps other students. She said Josh had plans to go to college and eventually become a teacher. “Both boys had their heads on their shoulders, and they knew what they wanted,” Schooley said.

She remembers hearing of a fatal crash involving a wrong-way driver the night of August 17 and had a gut feeling. “I instantly felt sick and got my keys and got in the car,” Schooley said.

Her son was killed, and Vlad died a few days later.

The Pickaway County Coroner determined the driver who first hit an Ohio State Patrol car and went on to hit the car Josh and Vlad were driving, had an alcohol level of 0.081 and prescription medication in her system.

“I had anger I never knew I could express,” Schooley said.

Now, with the help of other family members, she is starting a scholarship fund to help other kids do what Josh was looking forward to going to college. “I want it to be a kid that knows what they want to do and has future plans that maybe they can’t afford it. We were that family. We were going to have to figure out what to do to get Josh to go, but we would’ve done it,” Schooley said. She wants to offer the scholarship every year.

“We would like for more than one child to experience what Joshua's not going to get to. Helping a child is what’s going to help us keep going, because we can’t help Joshua,” Schooley said.

On Wednesday, September 18, family and friends will gather at the Ashville Community Park. A tree is being offered by a non-profit in Ashville to plant in honor of Josh and Vlad. A candle light vigil will follow. It begins at 7:00 p.m.