SALTILLO, MISS. (WCBI) – Authorities say Gage Fidram and Jesse Witt, both 17, were killed when a truck they were in veered off Buce Bottom Road and hit a tree.
On Monday afternoon, under the same tree, classmates from Saltillo High School gathered around a makeshift memorial, sharing stories and memories of their friends and just trying to make sense of the tragedy.
Over at the high school, where Jesse was a senior and Gage a junior, principal Tim DeVaughn said the mood was somber and quiet.
“Students they are in shock right now, they are finding it hard to grieve at this point, because of the shock,” Principal DeVaughn said.
That’s why counselors, pastors and youth ministers were brought in to help students through the grieving process.
The principal says the young men were popular with students and faculty.
“Both kids were just, yessir, no sir kids, I could see them in the hall every morning as we came to school I said good morning guys and they were always cheerful and would say good morning back to you,” he said.
They were both involved in sports. Gage was a wide receiver on the football team.
“Gage was as quick a kid as we had on the football team, he wasn’t very big stature wise, but very athletic and he was kind of a comedian, he lightened the mood when it needed to be lightened,” Head Football Coach Pat Byrd said.
Jesse enjoyed tennis and had just qualified in mixed doubles for the state tournament .
Now as the school mourns its tragic loss, Coach Byrd hopes students will learn a valuable lesson.
“We’re not guaranteed tomorrow, we’re not guaranteed the next second, don’t take anything for granted. Hopefully some good will come out of it , some young person that may not be leading his life the way he needs to maybe can learn something, drive safely, slow down, whatever the situation may be. Hopefully something good will come out of the tragedy,” Coach Byrd said.
Family members have decided to hold a joint funeral service for both young men Wednesday afternoon. Administrators say they ‘re considering letting Saltillo schools out early that day so friends and teachers can attend the service.