Student killed in head-on crash mere hours before high school graduation

LAWRENCE, Mich. -- A Van Buren County teen died early Sunday morning in a head-on collision in Granger.

Senior James Reeder died just 10 hours before his high school commencement.

His classmates left his chair empty for him with his cap and gown.

"When we went through and called the names, we did call James’ out and he received a standing ovation just everybody clapping and a lot of tears and wishing he was there," said Lawrence Public Schools Superintendent John Overley.

Overley spoke highly of the young man and said Reeder had planned on going to Western Michigan College for a degree in chemical engineering.

"James was a very charismatic young man, he was athletic, he was a very, very good wrestler," said Overley. "He was a very intelligent young man, he was a member of the national honor society."

Reeder’s pick-up truck hit a semi head-on on State Road 23 in Granger, Indiana, around 4:30 Sunday morning.

Overley said Reeder’s father called him just after 9 Sunday morning with the tragic news and he started spreading the news in the district.

He said they had the seniors come in early for the ceremony to talk to them, and they all wore black patches with Reeder’s name on their gowns to remember him.

On Monday the sign out front of the school reads, "Reeder family you are in our thoughts and prayers."

Reeder’s visitation is Wednesday, June 6th, from 4 to 8 p.m.

The funeral service is Thursday, June 7th, at noon.

All services will be held at the Newell Funeral Home in Decatur, Michigan.

It’s located at 83313 M-51 Decatur, MI 49045.


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