East Central teens die in single car wreck in Hurley

The Gulf Coast community is mourning the loss of two East Central teens who died in a single car wreck over the weekend.

The East Central community is mourning the loss of two high school juniors who died in a car crash after the school’s homecoming dance.

When the two girls, Chloe Taylor and Baleigh Bowlin, did not make it home after the homecoming dance, the families began searching for them.

An uncle of one of the teens found the girls dead in the vehicle, still wearing their seat belts. The car was found overturned on the side of Lum-Reeves Road at the intersection of Highway 613.

The car had left the roadway and crashed into an embankment and tree.

Flowers were left at the scene of the crash, along with flowers and candles in a parking spot at East Central High School.

The deaths of these two 16-year-olds marks the third and fourth deaths of East Central students in the calendar year. Jackson County Superintendent John Strycker said, “There’s no template for this. We’re going to keep an eye on our students. You know, it’s going to be important that we monitor this situation because it is not typical for a school this size to, any tragic like that just happened, but even to lose the amount of students we’ve lost in the past calendar year.”

Extra school counselors and youth pastors were at the East Central gym to offer support and comfort to the high school students.

Garon Tate, who is the student and family pastor at Wade Baptist Church, encouraged the students to lean on each other. “We just want the families and the students to know that as they navigate through grief, they’re not alone. From a community perspective, we have lots of folks that love these students, love these families, and from the perspective of the church, we just want them to know that even in the midst of grief like this, that the hope in Jesus is sufficient.”

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