Students unite to mourn a classmate killed in a vehicle accident


SMACKOVER, Ark. (KTVE) –  Students at Smackover High School are mourning the loss of a classmate killed in a vehicle accident Wednesday afternoon.

Jimmy Russell Mitchell, 18, was crossing the northbound lanes of Arkansas 7 when a tractor-trailer struck his SUV. Both vehicles crossed the shoulder and came to a stop on the side of the highway, killing Mitchell at the scene.

“It’s very tough. This is the worst thing that could’ve happened. I wish it would’ve never happened to anybody,” Harley William said.

Williams is the victim’s classmate and football teammate. He and other students gathered in the high school gymnasium to remember a life taken too soon.

“Lord, we just ask you to help us all,” one student prayed during the gathering.

Mitchell’s tragic and sudden death left tears in many students eyes. Though each student grieved differently, they made it a priority to do it together.

“In the school district, we’re all family. If we can come together it just makes the situation a lot better,” Timmy Preston said.

Preston is a freshman at the school. He remembers Mitchell as a classmate, teammate and friend.

The gathering in the school’s gym was student-led. School faculty, counselors and local pastors were available for students who needed support.

“Coming to that brick wall at this age is very shocking,” said Becky Dickson, student Mental Health Coordinator. “But at the same time, we already hear our students gathering and planning and being very purposeful.”

Although each class Jimmy was in will have that one empty desk, students hearts are filled with the memories they have of their friend. Students and faculty all say Mitchell will always be remembered for his humility, hard work and infectious smile.

“His smile. Oh my gosh,” Preston said. “Everybody wanted his smile and that’s all we’ll remember him by.”

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