CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind.– A trip to school turned into tragedy for twin brothers near Crawfordsville on Thursday morning. One is injured and the other has died.
State police responded to a single vehicle crash at about 8:30 a.m. on Old State Road 55 just south of County Road 500 West.
“It’s too bad, just too bad,” said Don Harshbarger, who heard the crash from his home a few hundred feet from the crash. “First thing I heard was the screeching of the tires where they were sliding sideways. Then, in a little bit, there was, ‘Bang, bang, bang, bang’ and that was rolling over.”
Harshbarger’s wife called 911 after seeing a white pickup roll at least three times. The passenger, 18-year-old Mike McCord, was ejected and later died of internal injuries. State police said his twin brother, Mitch McCord, was driving. He reportedly lost control on the right side of the road and then over-corrected.
“He just said he didn’t know what happened,” Harshbarger said.
Mitch McCord suffered a shoulder contusion in the crash. State police said neither alcohol nor drugs played a factor, but they said neither of the twins were wearing their seat belts.
The brothers were on their way to Crawfordsville High School for one of the last days of their junior year.
“We lost something special today,” said Mark Melton, Assistant Principal at Crawfordsville High School.
Mike McCord left a big impression at the school. He was a football player, freshman mentor and member of the show choir.
“Mike is your typical, all-American, high school student,” Melton said, “very intelligent, very well liked, always had a smile on his face. You would never catch he, nor his brother, without a smile on their face and it was contagious.”
Though news of the crash quickly spread through the school Thursday morning, administrators allowed students to share their grief and welcomed counselors and community members to come in and comfort those who needed it.
“To have community members come in, just out of nowhere, just to be there for the kids,” Melton said. “It’s a true testament of this community.”
When students return to school Friday morning, they’ll have the opportunity to sign banners and leave messages to the family.
As they continue to mourn, many wonder what a difference seat belts might have made.
“It looked to me like they would have probably been all right (with seat belts), just looking at the inside of the vehicle,” Harshbarger said. “They would’ve had a lot better chance than the way it ended up. That’s for sure.”
Melton said the students are now rallying around Mitch McCord and two other siblings who attend the school.
“The school and the students will do whatever we can to help them through this difficult time,” he said.