Elkhart community mourning death of teen in car crash, praying for others to recover

NOW: Elkhart community mourning death of teen in car crash, praying for others to recover


An Elkhart community is mourning.  Four of their own, all 17-year-olds, were involved in a car crash, just 10 minutes from their high school.

One of those teens, Breckin Hamby, died on scene. 

The other three, in the hospital, still being treated. 

"I received a phone call from the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department last evening, informing me there was an accident," recalls Jeff Ziegler, Principal for Grades 11 and 12 at Jimtown High School in Baugo Township.

It's a phone call no one wants to get. A phone call that has changed the Jimtown community, forever.

"So many things race through your head as far as faculty, staff, the students themselves, and most importantly, the families of the victims.

The four Jimtown teenagers were involved in a three-car crash early Sunday night, at the intersection of State Road 19 and County Road 36.

"There's just a lot of emotion going on right now," says Ziegler. "I'm a father of three myself and I cannot imagine."

Faculty, students, and the community, coming together to remember Breckin.

In just 10 minutes, ABC57 News received countless pictures and messages of the friend, they all miss. 

Messages that read, "it was hard to be in school today without him," and "Breckin is, and will be, loved."

He was known for his smile. 

"His smile was just so contagious, it just put a smile on your face when you saw it," remembers Ziegler. 

Breckin also was remembered for cheering everyone else up.

Students at Jimtown High School have created their own memorial for him, to help cope with having that empty seat in class. 

"The students have started to put notepads and sticky notes with memories of Breckin on his locker," says Ziegler. "People are just coming together, crying together, and praying together."

That's what Jimtown is proud of: proud of their resiliency and ability to come together in times of need.

"It's a tremendous loss. A tremendous loss when you're in a small school system. You lose one, it's tough. You lose a family member," explains Ziegler. 

That's the kind of community it is. A community that is going to need each other even more, in these difficult times. 

"It's difficult, but we plow the road. We'll get through it because Jimtown is a special place, because it's a small community," adds Scott Kovatch, the Jimtown High School Principal for Grades 9 and 10.  

The school sent home a letter to parents explaining what occurred over the weekend. 

There is counseling available for students to help cope with the loss of their classmate. 

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