Commissioners mourn WVHS teen's death

By TIM SINIARD and AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 12/10/19

Members of the Bradley County Commission offered their condolences to the families of teenagers injured in a car crash Friday, noting that a young man died as a result of the incident.Lt. John Harmon …

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Commissioners mourn WVHS teen's death

Posted

Members of the Bradley County Commission offered their condolences to the families of teenagers injured in a car crash Friday, noting that a young man died as a result of the incident.

Lt. John Harmon of the Tennessee Highway Patrol confirmed to the Cleveland Daily Banner the crash had taken place, but did not confirm the identity of the teen nor the details regarding the cause of the accident.

However, the newspaper has confirmed through independent sources that the teen who died as a result of the accident was Thomas Austin Graham, 16. The teenager reportedly died at Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga Sunday, where he had been airlifted via Life Force medical helicopter after the accident.

The Walker Valley High School student died from injuries caused by the single-vehicle accident that took place on Sheffey Lane in Charleston.

During Monday's county commission session, Commissioner Milan Blake said as the parent of an 18-year-old and 15-year-old, he wanted to offer his condolences to the crash victims' families.

"I just want to encourage everybody (to) drive safely," Blake said. "As a parent I just hate that, it breaks my heart."

Also referring to the accident was Vice Chairman Thomas Crye, who said he understands three teenagers were in the vehicle.

"It's sad because these are our leaders of tomorrow," Crye said, asking for the public to keep the families in prayer. "Sincerely, it's sad."

Commissioner Kevin Raper said the young man who died had been a student of his at Walker Valley.

"It's tragic," Raper said. "I hope that never happens again at any of our local schools."

Harmon said the incident remains under investigation and expects an official crash report will be released later today.

Services for Graham will be announced at a later date by Fike-Randolph & Son Funeral Home and Cremation Services. In lieu of flowers, the family requests for donations to be made to a local animal shelter in Graham's memory.

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