A community is rallying together in support of a family involved in a tragic car wreck.
Haughton schools are still coming to terms with the accident that took the life of a student Sept. 16. As the grieving process continues, the schools have turned to helping the ones who survived the crash.
Louisiana State Police say the accident occurred just west of the Bossier-Webster Parish line on Hwy 164. A preliminary investigation revealed that a 1999 Dodge Caravan, driven by 17-year-old Joshua Kirkhart of Doyline, was traveling east on LA Highway 164 when he crossed the center line and struck a 2006 Hyundai Latria, driven by 19-year-old Aaron Hickingbottom of Lubbock, Texas, head-on.
Both drivers sustained life threatening injuries as a result of the crash. Matthew Kirkhart, 15, a freshman at Haughton High School and passenger in the Dodge Caravan, was pronounced dead at the scene.
At Haughton Middle School, donation containers were set up in the office and Friday was dedicated as a jeans day to help raise money for the family’s funeral and medical expenses.
Principal Waylon Bates said the call he received that Sunday evening was one he can never fully prepare for.
“It’s terrible any time you hear of a car wreck and a death, but it’s even worse when it affects part of our school system,” he said.
Bates said guidance counselors were on standby last week for students who needed them. Several school groups also made get well cards and arranged for more school fundraising events.
For jeans day, students paid $3 to wear blue jeans instead of the required uniform pants and the faculty was also allowed to participate with a $5 donation. Bates said the money they raised would go directly to the Kirkhart family.
“We felt like the best thing we could do, because of the cost associated with funerals and buying a new vehicle, is to raise money,” he said. “This is the best thing we could do for them.”
Bates said their goal for the future is to be supportive as a school family to the Kirkhart family.
“Nothing will replace the loss of their son, but we hope this financial contribution will lift them up,” he said. “This is a very strong community and we will continue to pray for them daily.”
Donations can be made in Matthew’s name to Eastwood Baptist Church in Haughton for the Kirkhart family:
Eastwood Baptist Church
2810 U.S. 80
Haughton, LA 71037