BENTON, IL — The Franklin County community is mourning the loss of three students who died in a car accident on Saturday, Sept. 16. Two other students who were injured in the crash were transported from the scene for treatment, according to Franklin County Emergency Management Agency and Kyle Bacon the Franklin County Sheriff.
The three students who were killed attended Benton Consolidated High School in Benton, Illinois.
In response to the tragedy, the school released a statement expressing sympathy to the students’ families and the community.
“The loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire school, especially our students,” said BCHS Superintendent Benjamin Johnson. “Our attention goes to pulling together as a community and doing everything we can for the families and fellow students.”
The BCHS media release is attached below:
Starting Monday morning, the school will have counselors and social workers available to meet with students. The school will also have early dismissal which is outlined on the media release as well. They have also cancelled sophomore football and boys’ golf games that were scheduled for Monday.
The school’s football team, the Benton Rangers, also made statement in a Facebook post the day of the accident saying, “there are no words. But if you need a shoulder, or just want to pray, there are godly people ready and willing. Pray for our families and our town.”
The football teams’ Facebook page also shared a post made by a local church called the Immanuel Baptist Church of Benton who opened their doors for open prayer the same night.
The mayor joined in sharing condolences to the community and families of the victims.
“I am deeply saddened by the tragic news last night regarding a traffic accident that took the lives of three of our local youth. I am also, however, encouraged by the outpouring of love and compassion that I have seen on Facebook this morning,” the Mayor’s Office of the city of West Frankfort said in a Facebook post.
Candlelight could be seen on the Tabor Field Sunday night as a vigil was held at 8 p.m. in Benton, Illinois to remember, and pray for those affected by the accident.
There are currently three crosses placed at the crash site in Franklin County, Illinois, placed to remember the lives that were lost.
The Franklin County Sheriff said that the road has been temporarily closed to non-resident traffic, due to the high amount of traffic near the road of the crash site.
The news has spread across social media since the accident and has garnered the support of others outside of the community.
In solidarity of the grieving community, the Vienna High School which is located in Vienna, Illinois has shown there support as well.
Vienna High School students are asked to wear BCHS colors, red and maroon, on Tuesday Sept. 19 to show support. Students have also been asked to participate in a prayer circle on the VHS front lawn. The VHS Student Council will also collect donations for the families of the victims.
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