CAPE ELIZABETH — The community was in mourning this week after the death of 17-year-old Cole Amorello, who died Monday from injuries he received in a single-car crash April 9.
Police on Tuesday afternoon said Amorello “had been at a gathering earlier in the night where alcohol was being consumed,” although it was unclear if that was a factor in the crash. Blood test results are not expected for a week or two.
All authorities know for sure is that “speed definitely was a factor,” according to Police Department Capt. Brent Sinclair.
Police also said Amorello, who only possessed a learner’s permit, was alone in the car. Maine law requires permit holders to be accompanied by licensed drivers who are at least 20 years old.
Sinclair said earlier this week that Amorello was southbound on Old Ocean House Road at 5 a.m. when he lost control of his 2006 BMW sedan. The car left the road and slammed into a cluster of trees. Amorello was transported from the scene to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he died.
By all accounts, Amorello was an outgoing, gregarious and well-liked student at Cape Elizabeth High School, where he was a junior.
In an email sent to parents announcing Amorello’s death, Jeff Shedd, the high school principal, described him as a “bright, spirited young man who was talented in theater, speech, writing, conversation and making friends with adults and students alike.”
Shedd added that Amorello was also “witty and spontaneous and full of life and dreams for his future. He followed his passions and marched to the beat of his own drummer in a manner admired by all.”
In November, Amorello directed the scripted pieces for the school’s Improv Troupe production, “Improv-n-Shorts.” In terms of his directorial debut, Amorello told the Current newspaper, “I’m learning a lot and enjoying it a great deal.”
He also was the lead in the school’s one-act play festival entry, “The Dishwasher,” in March 2015. The play won first place in the state competition, which earned the actors a trip to the New England competition festival.
Shedd joined Superintendent of Schools Meredith Nadeau and Elizabeth Scifres, chairwoman of the School Board, in expressing condolences to Amorello’s family and friends.
“We extend our deepest condolences to Cole’s family and friends as they grieve his passing,” Nadeau said.
Nadeau also said that counseling support is available to students in all three Cape schools.
“Our community has experienced a tragic loss this week,” Scifres said. “It has deeply affected our families, students and staff. I extend my deepest sympathies to (Cole’s) family and friends.”
She also had praise for school administrators, teachers and staff “for their sensitivity and care of our students as they try to navigate this very difficult time.”
Shedd described Amorello as “one of those students who managed to cross all sorts of social groups and cliques, which was evident (Monday) in the many, many students who have been affected by his situation.”
He added that Amorello’s loss “is deeply felt.”
On Amorello’s Facebook page, friends posted dozens of messages about what he meant to them.
Caroline Harper said, “Rest in peace to one of the most kind, creative and original people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.”
Robert Dutton wrote, “R.I.P. Cole Amorello you, by far, were the most unique and most real person I’ve ever met. You had such a positive energy around you and could light up a room right when you walked in. We’ll miss you buddy, rest easy my friend.”
Ryan Sans added, “My heart is broken. I love you forever Cole Amorello. I can’t believe that I will never perform with you again. We will never write a play together. We will never act together. We can’t collaborate. I will never be able to hug my buddy again. I’ll miss you forever my friend. I try to think that everything happens for a reason but I’d like to know what the reason for this is. I’m angry. I’m devastated. I’m confused.”
Amorello is survived by his mother, Sandi, and two older siblings, Olivia and Holden.
Sandi Amorello is a former columnist for The Forecaster. In her column, “No Sugar Added,” she often wrote about life, love, dating, single parenthood, her family and their lives after the death of her husband, Drew, from cancer. She posted this message late Wednesday on her Facebook page:
“I have lost a kindred spirit, son and teacher. Cole has shown me how to live life with absolutely no regrets. His father was a very different person, but also had no regrets when his life ended at a young age. This is the lesson we all must learn. Live. Unapologetically and authentically. It’s not about the number of years … it’s about the magic and love and truth and freedom of spirit with which they are lived.”
A memorial celebration of Cole Amorello’s life will be held Friday, April 15, at 5 p.m. at the Ocean Gateway Terminal in Portland.
Updated April 14 with additional information.
Those grieving the loss of Cape Elizabeth High School student Cole Amorello can reach out to the following agencies for support and guidance:
• Art Of Awareness, 100 Waterman Drive, South Portland, 799-1331.
• Center for Grieving Children, 555 Forest Ave., Portland, 775-5216.
Cole Amorello, 17, of Cape Elizabeth, died Monday, April 11, of injuries he received in a single-car crash April 9. (Facebook)
Cole Amorello, right, performs in Cape Elizabeth High School’s one-act play “The Dishwasher” in last year’s Maine Drama Festival. Amorello was killed in a car crash early Saturday morning, April 9. (Sun Media Wire)
A bouquet of flowers rests against a tree on Old Ocean House Road in Cape Elizabeth, where Cole Amorello was critically injured in a crash early Saturday morning, April 9. He died two days later. (Kate Gardner / The Forecaster)