Saturday, May 8, 2004

Deaths of former students unsettling at Lemon-Monroe

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

MONROE - The deaths of two former students made for a difficult week at Lemon-Monroe Junior-Senior High School.

Just a day after Oscar Jimenez, 21, was killed in a fiery Tuesday afternoon crash, students learned that former school soccer star Brent Davidson, 19, had died late Tuesday night in a Kentucky hospital, reportedly after intentionally inhaling compressed air. The 2003 Lemon-Monroe graduate was a student at Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Ky., where he also played soccer.

Jimenez had argued with his girlfriend before pouring what witnesses said was gasoline onto himself and driving away shortly before the 3 p.m. crash in Middletown on Tuesday. While speeding south, Jimenez hit a car driven by Kimberly Weaver, 24, the mother of two small children. Both Jimenez and Weaver died at the scene.

Grief counselors were on hand for students and staff.

"The first thing you do is help the students deal with their emotions. "You let students know it's all right to be upset, to mourn," said Robert Millisor, assistant principal. "Eventually, it can be turned into a learning experience. As much as it hurts us that we lost these students, others can learn from their mistakes."

Friday, the atmosphere of the school was somber, as students and staff discussed funeral services for both men. The school, in Butler County, has 726 students in grades 7-12, all in the same building.

"There's puzzlement and bewilderment about the circumstances (for both)," Millisor said, adding: "There was sorrow for (Weaver's) family. It's a difficult time."

Jimenez, a native of the Dominican Republic, was remembered as outgoing and cheerful, and Millisor recalled Jimenez befriending new Hispanic students who spoke little English, "always helping someone out."

Lemon-Monroe soccer coach Tom Gannon said he and Davidson's former teammates were shocked by his death. Davidson was last year's Mid-Miami League South player of the year.

"The whole school, the community is absolutely devastated. Brent was always smiling, always joking, the life of the party," Gannon said. "This whole area has lost so many kids to accidents. The school's taken a heck of a hit recently."

This is the third time the community is mourning a recent alumnus. In February, Joey Adams, 19, was killed in a car accident.

The Butler County coroner has preliminarily ruled Jimenez's death a suicide. Davidson's death is still under investigation, said Williamsburg Detective Wayne Bird. No foul play is suspected in Davidson's death.

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