Thursday, October 2, 2003

Student killed; school shocked

By Janice Morse, The Cincinnati Enquirer
and Sue Kiesewetter, Enquirer contributor


OXFORD - Just as they were preparing for this weekend's homecoming festivities, Talawanda High School students learned a popular honor student was killed in an automobile crash on his way to school.

Jason Farthing, 18, was pronounced dead Wednesday morning while emergency crews were taking him to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.

"Times like this are never easy," Talawanda Principal David Isaacs said Wednesday, after using the school's public-address system to convey the sad news shortly after lunch. "They're kids. They're so immortal and yet they're so fragile. This is a surprisingly sensitive group of kids."

Some schoolmates were so distraught they went home, officials said.

Isaacs said the media centers at the high school and at Talawanda Middle School - where two of Farthing's siblings attended class - were set up as grief centers with counselors available to talk with students or staff members. Those centers will be staffed again today.

Homecoming activities will proceed. The senior class is planning to put some sort of memorial to Farthing on its class float.

The Milford Township senior was an honor student who was well liked and supported the school's athletes, band members and All-Academic team, Isaacs said.

"He was the one cheering them on, supporting them," said Isaacs, whose daughter was a classmate of Farthing. "He didn't like the limelight. He was just a real neat, solid kid who happened to be very bright."

The crash that killed Farthing happened around 6 a.m. Farthing was westbound on Somerville Road and turned left onto Ohio 127 into the path of a northbound semi tractor-trailer, Butler County sheriff's deputies said. The semi driver, Stephen W. Hall, 43, of Indianapolis, declined medical treatment.

Emergency crews freed Farthing from the wreckage of his Dodge Aries and summoned a medical helicopter, but he died before reaching the hospital, the sheriff's office said.

Ohio 127 was closed for more than two hours while crews investigated the crash and cleared the wreckage.

The Butler County Sheriff's and Montgomery County Coroner's offices were investigating.

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