A community is in shock after three students volunteering at a church FFA event died in an horrific crash Thursday. School officials said they do not know why the students left the event early.
“Today we are not only saying goodbye to one friend, we are saying goodbye to three,” said student Cherokee Mullins.
Two trucks were smashed and three students are dead. South Ripley Junior Cherokee Mullins said she is shocked and devastated.
“I fell to the floor,” said Mullins. “I was crying so hard, I did not know who it was. I did not know who we lost. Not knowing was the hardest part.”
Investigators said both of the trucks involved ran stop signs at Fairground Road and County Road 850 West in Ripley County.
Killed in the crash were seniors Jacob Vogel, Timothy Bowman and junior Samantha Hanson.
Mullins described Hanson as “a country girl.”
“Very… FFA all the way,” said Mullins. “It is hard, this is her senior year and she is gone.”
The six members of the South Ripley High School FFA began their day at Hopewell Church. They were serving breakfast to area farmers. It was supposed to be an all-day event, but the six students left early.
“The students were supposed to stay for the entire day at the church,” said Superintendent Robert Moorehouse. “They were not on their way back to school.”
None of that matters now. Emotions have taken over the community. That community came together, to mourn, and remember the teens.
“It is very quiet, very somber,” said resident Terri Powers. “Everybody is just walking around, hugging each other.”
There are fewer than 100 students in the senior class at South Ripley. There are fewer than 400 in the entire high school. Cherokee said it will take everyone coming together to get through this tragedy.
“It makes me realize that life is not permanent,” said Mullins. “You do not have it whenever you want, it can be taken away from you in a second and you need to value that.”