Three funeral services will be held this week to remember the lives of four Bell County teenagers who were killed Saturday in a crash with a coal truck.
“It’s a terrible loss for us,” said Kenneth Sams, chairman of the Bell County school board.
Daniel Earl Campbell Smith, 15, of Blackmont and twins Jessica Nicole “Niki” Ingram and Wesley Ingram, 16, of Pineville were passengers in a southbound Toyota Yaris driven by Jonathan Miracle, 18, of Miracle, state police said. The car was traveling on U.S. 25 East in Pineville early Saturday morning.
State police said slick roads caused Miracle to lose control of the car, which crossed into the northbound lane, colliding with a coal truck driven by Dwight Robinson Jr., 34, of Tyner.
Smith and the Ingrams were part of the Bell County High School Air Force ROTC and were on their way to march in a Christmas parade. Miracle graduated from Bell County High School last year, said Jeffery Saylor, the school’s principal.
Smith had planned to enlist in the Air Force after graduation from high school, according to obituary information on the Web site for Arnett & Steele Funeral Home in Pineville.
Police said the teens were wearing seat belts. Drugs and alcohol do not appear to have been a factor.
“They were all just good average high school students — good kids, good families,” Saylor said.
Grief counselors will be available Monday to talk to the 780 students at Bell County High. Saylor said. The counselors come from other schools in the district as well as local clergy, he said.
“It’s always hard when you lose one student, much less four,” Saylor said. It is likely that the four teens attended the Friday night football game in Pineville in which Bell County defeated Boyle County 17-15, said Saylor.
“They were celebrating the victory and then 24 hours later, it just sucked all the excitement out of that and brought you back to what life is all about,” Saylor said.
This is the second time this year that the high school has lost a group of students to an accident. Two former and two current students were killed in January in a fiery crash on Ky. 92 when the driver failed to negotiate a curve, hitting a tree.
Funeral services for the Ingrams will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Bell County High School gymnasium. The Rev. David Longstaff will preside. Visitation will be 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the gym. Burial for the Ingrams will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Wallsend Cemetery at Pineville.
The funeral for Daniel Earl Campbell Smith will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Pathfork Holiness Church. The Revs. Everett Eads, Robert Lee and Lawrence Hensley will officiate. Visitation will be at 6 p.m. Monday at the church. Burial for Smith will be in the Saylor Cemetery at Pathfork.
Arnett & Steele Funeral Home in Pineville is handling arrangements for Smith and the Ingrams.
The funeral for Miracle will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Creech Funeral Home, 112 S. 21st St., Middlesboro. The Revs. Jeff Craig and Ricky Forrester will officiate.
Visitation will be 6 to 9 p.m. Monday at the funeral home. Burial will be in the Sol Wilson Cemetery at Miracle.