By Chris Kieffer and Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – Many Saltillo High School students wrote messages on note cards Monday afternoon in memory of two classmates who died in an early Sunday morning car accident.
Their notes will be made into wreaths that will be given to the families of Gage Fidram and Jesse Witt, both 17, who were killed in a one-vehicle accident on County Road 461 in Saltillo when the vehicle struck a tree.
Area pastors and youth ministers, counselors from throughout the Lee County School District and support therapists from Region III Mental Health were at the school Monday for grief therapy. Some students met in the school’s parking lot on Sunday for impromptu prayer.
“It is a very somber mood,” said Saltillo High School counselor Susan Dillard. “You could have heard a pin drop today.”
Gage, a junior, was a wide receiver on the football team, and Jesse, a senior, was a competitive water skier. The two were close friends, and Dillard said Gage often stayed with Jesse and his family.
Jesse also attended Tupelo Schools through middle school.
“The were both great kids,” Dillard said. “They always had smiles on their faces. They were well liked by the other students, and they lit up a room when they entered it. They loved life.”
Lee County authorities, meanwhile, still are investigating accident.
“We sent off for some tests just to find out if there were any contributing factors that may have assisted in the reason for this accident. We should have results this week or next week,” said Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson.
He said the tests would determine if anything like alcohol was involved, but that these tests are routine.
“It’s a preliminary test we do any time there’s a fatality,” he said.
Dillard remembered how each teen would get involved in spirit activities during the school’s homecoming week.
They dressed in camouflage shirts, cutoff bluejean shorts and boots during camouflage day, and Jesse once dressed in a cheerleader uniform.
“That tells you what kind of personalities they had, they were very outgoing,” she said.