Graham Local Schools announced in a social media post that sophomore Evan Whitt was killed in a crash.
“The car accident that claimed the life of Graham High School student Evan Whitt has left the Graham community in mourning,” interim superintendent Matt Curtis said in a statement. “This is a terrible tragedy for the Whitt family members, our students, staff and the entire Graham Falcon family.”
The Champaign County Sheriff's Office responded to the crash on U.S. 36 west of Graham High School on Friday afternoon after a car struck several trees. A black 2006 Cadillac was headed west in the 8400 block of U.S. 36 around 2:35 p.m. when it went off the left side of the roadway and struck several trees, causing extensive damage to the car, according to a release from the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.
Whitt was the only occupant in the vehicle, according to the sheriff's office.
The school said there will be a prayer vigil at the high school today at 5:30 p.m.
“In a united community effort, local counselors and clergy have joined district personnel at Graham High School this week to provide support to students and staff during this difficult time,” Curtis said. “The district’s crisis response team will continue to work with students and families affected by the accident.”
Whitt had a passion for aviation and was working towards a career in the profession. His teachers remembered him fondly in a school statement.
“Life’s goal is not to live forever, but rather to help create, build and enjoy something that does,” said Graham High School Aviation Program Teacher Mark Curtner. “Evan’s passion for aviation lives on in us all. he has been called above and is now soaring in the heavens. He has become an eternal co-pilot for his fellow aviators.”
“Evan was a great kid,” social studies teacher John Tullis. “In my class, he was a good student who worked hard and demonstrated a natural curiosity about life. I was fortunate to coach Evan when he played middle school football. It was fun to coach Evan because he knew nothing about football. He just wanted to participate, learn something new, and have fun with his friends. This attitude allowed him to make good friends, to not be afraid to try new things, and to enjoy his life. It was obvious how much he loved and admired his Dad and looked forward to many adventures with his father, including a move to Alaska. Evan was a wonderful young man who lived a beautiful life. I will miss him.”
The sheriff's investigation is ongoing.
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