Sundays are known for football, drinking and spending time with friends. You would never imagine a night going so well that ends with losing two of your best friends.
Student athletes Michael Tepe and Tyler Stiles lost their lives in a car accident last year on Nov. 10 around 7 p.m. Leaving the Dog Haus, the two boys did not say goodbye to their friends. Moments later, a best friend of the men, Jordan Bailey, received a phone call from roommate Joe that Tepe and Stiles have been in a fatal car accident.
“It was just like any other Sunday,” says Bailey. “We watched the Bengals game with all our friends, enjoyed a chili cook-off and had some drinks. We didn’t even notice they left until a news story popped up on the television saying there has been a wreck on Covedale. We thought nothing of it. We even called them to see if they were okay and they didn’t answer. There was no way something tragic like this could have happened. We thought they were just fine and that we would see them later that night.”
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 10,839 people will die in drunk driving crashes – one every 50 minutes – this year. In addition, one person is injured from an alcohol-related crash every minute.
Samantha Scholl, a mount alum, said, “When you’re young, you think you’re invincible, that nothing can happen to you. Their death helped raise awareness to the community that if you drink and drive, you’re putting yourself and others at risk.They didn’t have the intention to hurt themselves and others, but bad things can happen when you’re under the influence, and now we’re continuing to mourn the loss of two great guys. This situation goes shows that even good people can make poor decisions.”
Tepe and Stiles both played football for Mount St. Joseph University. Stiles was an offensive lineman and Tepe was a defensive back. Although the men both loved football, they were still committed to their schoolwork.
“Stiles was very committed to school and was going to be very successful, and everyone knew it. His personality shined when he walked into a room. Tepe was a special education major and was great with kids. The last thing I saw him do before he left the Dog Haus was buy a candy bar from a kid who was doing a fundraiser for his school,” says Bailey.
Although Bailey was extremely close and lived with both men, he and Stiles had been friends their whole lives. From family vacations, celebrating holidays together and living together, they were considered inseparable.
According to Bailey, once Stiles graduated, he wanted to move to Seattle to watch his sister, his pride and joy, grow up. Tepe aspired to teach and coach. He had great work ethic and was going to be a top- notch teacher back in Springboro.
Former football player and senior Bobby Sagers describes how much he misses seeing both boys on the field. “They did the right thing at all times and led by example. They worked hard on and off the field and were a true inspiration to the team. You could tell how loved they were the day after their death as everyone gathered on the football field to release balloons in memory of them.”
“If anything could be taken away from this, it’s that drinking and driving can strike anyone at any time. I have driven drunk in the past and I haven’t since and will never again. This can happen to anyone. I didn’t lose one best friend, I lost two,” says Bailey.
On the anniversary of their death, Bailey and their closest friends honored them by decorating the crash site and spent the evening at the Dog Haus. This tragedy has brought all Tepe’s and Stiles’ close friends together even more so.
“Everyone was there for one another. It was beautiful. We have become so much closer and consider ourselves a family. Nobody has to suffer alone in this. They will always be my boys,” says Bailey.