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UPDATE: School Community Coping with Death of Student in Motorcycle Crash

By: Olivia Fecteau; WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Olivia Fecteau; WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 11/11/13 @ 6:25 p.m.
PROCTORVILLE, Ohio (WSAZ) – After a motorcycle crash that killed a high school senior on his 18th birthday, a community is now trying to deal with his death and figure out how to better enforce safety.

Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers say Jason Willis and a friend were riding off-road motorcycles Saturday afternoon when they pulled off onto the state right-of-way near Ohio 7. Troopers say Willis went over a steep embankment, where he was thrown from his bike and killed.

He was a senior at Fairland High School.

“Everybody's just kind of numb right now,” Principal Chad Belville said. “It really hasn't set in.”

Belville said he taught Willis in health class for two years in middle school before coming to the high school as principal during Willis’ freshman year. Because of that, Belville said he felt a special bond with this year’s senior class and that Willis would be missed in this small school of 500 students.

“He was a common thread amongst all the students,” Belville said. “He didn't fit in to any one particular group. He was friends with everybody and so it affected everybody.”

As Belville and his teachers try to guide students through this painful loss, they are also trying to encourage safety. Troopers tell WSAZ.com the state right-of-way where Willis crashed is a restricted area, where it is illegal to ride bikes or ATVs and where they see crashes far too frequently.

“It's a hilly terrain. There's a lot of ditch lines […] that can be hidden from the riders that they might not see when they ride up on them,” Sgt. Chris Smith said.

Police urge people to ride on approved trails or tracks to stay safe.

The school says it holds assemblies about safety, especially around homecoming and prom season.

“Special safety training on riding ATVs and motorcycles,” Belville said. “Those things continue to go on here on a daily basis.”

For now, he said, they are just trying to pick up the pieces.

“We aren't trained on how to handle situations like this, and sometimes you just do the best that you can do and let the kids know that you're there for them and you love them,” Belville said.

Monday night, family and friends held a vigil for Willis at Fairland High School. They used candles to line Willis' parking spot at the school.

Visitation will take place from 6 to 9 p.m.Tuesday, with the funeral set for Wednesday morning.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 11/11/13 @ 3 p.m.
PROCTORVILLE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A candlelight vigil is scheduled for Monday night for a teenager who died in a motorcycle accident.

The Ohio Highway Patrol says Jason M. Willis, 18, of Proctorville, died when he crashed along the SR 7 bypass just south of Kinley Avenue.

It happened around 1:30 Saturday afternoon.

Willis was a senior at Fairland High School in Proctorville,

The candlelight vigil will be held at the school at 6 p.m.

Troopers say Willis was riding an off-road motorcycle when he intentionally drove onto the grass right-of-way, in an area where motorcycles and ATVs are not supposed to ride.

The motorcycle then went over a steep embankment and overturned. Willis was ejected in the crash.

Fairland Principal Chad Belville tells WSAZ.com the school does assemblies and lessons about motorcycle and ATV safety for the students, and will continue with these lessons.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



ORIGINAL STORY 11/10/13 @ 8:49 p.m.
PROCTORVILLE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A teenager was killed in a motorcycle crash in Proctorville, Ohio Saturday afternoon.

The Ohio Highway Patrol says Jason M. Willis, 18, of Proctorville died in the 1:30 p.m. crash along the SR 7 bypass just south of Kinley Avenue.

Troopers say Willis was riding an off-road motorcycle when he intentionally drove onto the grass right-of-way.

The motorcycle then went over a steep embankment and overturned. Willis was ejected in the crash.

Willis was taken to a Huntington hospital where he died.

Troopers say he was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.


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