Champaign County teen remembered as ‘really inspiring’


Hundreds of people attended the funeral Friday for a Champaign County teenager killed in car accident last week.

Sara Marie Hess, 15, a sophomore at Graham High School, died after another car rear-ended the one in which she was riding on Ohio 235 near Roswell on Nov. 3, according to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.

Champaign County Sheriff Matt Melvin identified the driver of the 1997 Honda Civic that rear-ended the car as 27-year-old Dillion Lambert of St. Paris. He and his passenger, 32-year-old Clint Miller of Urbana, were flown to Miami Valley Hospital after the crash, Melvin said. 

» READ MORE: Urbana teen killed in Champaign Co. crash on Ohio 235

The funeral for Hess took place Friday at Westville Methodist Church. Graham Local Schools closed for the service “to provide respectful observance for our school community,” Superintendent Kirk Koennecke said.

About 450 chairs were set up and the crowd was was standing room only, according to attendees.

Hess was a girl who lived a good life in her almost 16 years, said Pastor Chuck Glower. She would have turned 16 on Sunday. 

“Her involvement with her peers in her life and her involvement with so many different organizations associated with the school and the community, just really inspiring,” Koennecke

Hess was the sophomore class president, a member of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), STEM club and Student Senate, according to her obituary. She played volleyball for her school and a Junior Olympics team called the Sharks and was a coach as well. She also was involved in 4-H and her church. She participated in Westville’s youth group and the W.E. (Worship Eternally) singing group.

Hess was heavily involved and intelligent, Koennecke said. This past school week has been a hard one for the district, and grief counselors were on hand to help students, faculty and staff, he said.

“The community has rallied, students and staff have been absolutely phenomenal in supporting one another,” he said

Students at the funeral said it’s horrible that she’s gone, but they hope she is in a peaceful place.



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