During a Thursday evening vigil in Versailles, friends took turns lighting candles in memory of Samantha Hansen, one of the three crash victims.
Mike Perleberg-Eagle 99.3
(Versailles, Ind.) – A prayer vigil exemplified the strong bond between Ripley County’s three rural high schools.
Close to 200 students from South Ripley, Jac-Cen-Del, and Milan high schools packed into the Gold Star Chili in Versailles Thursday evening to begin the process of mourning three South Ripley students who died in a crash that morning.
Timothy W. Bowman, Jacob Vogel, Samantha Hansen were killed when two pickup trucks collided on Fairgrounds Road at the intersection with County Road 850 North. Three other students - Thomas Crawford, Caleb Cumberworth, and Kayla Adkinson – were injured.
Versailles Church of Christ Youth Minister J.R. Stephen told the young people to stay strong.
“We need this time of grief. We need this time of sharing together. Comfort one another. Hug one another,” Stephen told a crowd of swollen eyes.
The minister also asked the community to pray for the three surviving students.
“Things are going to be different, maybe for the rest of your lives because of what happened today,” said Stephen.
Prior to the crash, the six Future Farmers of America South Ripley Chapter students were participating in a community breakfast at Hopewell Baptist Church.
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the Indiana Future Farmers of America released a statement regarding Thursday’s tragedy:
“The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and the Indiana FFA Association were very saddened to hear about the events which took place in Versailles, Indiana earlier today. The loss of any life is tragic and heartbreaking. That heartbreak is only compounded when the loss of life happens to those who are so young. ISDA and the entire Association send our condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with the South Ripley FFA Chapter, the local community, and the many friends and family members of all who were involved in this tragic accident.”
South Ripley's FFA students have been asked to wear their official dress to school Friday.
South Ripley Community Schools Superintendent Rob Moorhead said that grief counselors would be available to students and staff at South Ripley High School on Friday and the near future.
Thursday’s crash is the latest tragedy for one community. One of the crash victims, Samantha Hansen, was from Holton. The town had just last week reached the one-year anniversary of a March 2, 2012 tornado that claimed three lives.