Jefferson City High School mourns after crash involving students

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COLE COUNTY - Jefferson City High School is mourning the loss of student Mathias Bennett Tuesday following a car accident. 

"Of course we're saddened by the passing, its a tragedy," said JCHS Principal Robert James. "We always like to say we send them from here to grow up and do great things, and it's difficult when you lose the opportunity to see a student move on and live their life."

The crash happened around 3:45 p.m. Monday afternoon on Henwick Lane, according to Missouri State Highway Patrol reports. 

Kristian Estes was seriously injured.

The report shows the car carrying the two teenagers traveled off of the road, rolled and struck a utility pole. Neither teen was wearing his seatbelt and they were both ejected from the vehicle. 

Cat Hubbard, who has lived in the area for more than 30 years, said she passed the accident shortly after it happened.

"This is probably the worst thing I've ever seen here on Henwick lane," she said. 

The report said Bennett, 18, was taken to St. Mary's Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Estes, 17, was taken to University Hospital with serious injuries, according to the report. 

James said the school's crisis team went into action Monday afternoon after hearing about the crash. James said the crisis team consists of counselors that focus on providing support for students and staff.

"Our counselors also follow that student's schedule throughout the day, so that we can address those classes and deal with any issues and grieving students and staff," James said. 

James, who began his role as principal last July, said he didn't know Bennett personally, but that he had a large group of friends who spoke positively of him. 

"It's difficult to go about your daily routines, it's difficult to continue to move forward. We had so many students that were just focused on summer vacation just two days ago and now being with this, it can be difficult," he said. 

James said the JCHS community will work together like a family over time to help each other. 

"We just maintain that support and availability throughout the process because it's not just limited to the day after the event, most often it takes quite a while to get over and find closure in a loss like this," he said.