Madison County community left reeling as third teen dies in car crash
NORMANGEE, Texas (KBTX) -Three Madison County teenagers were killed in separate car crashes within the last three weeks, leaving the community reeling. The latest, a 15-year-old Normangee ISD student, died on July 17 in a one-vehicle crash on FM 978 near CR 314.
On July 8, 19-year-old Stephen Harris died in a two-vehicle crash on Interstate Highway 45 service road, half a mile south of Madisonville, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. July 11 resulted in Jennalyn Yeager’s death, an 18 year old, in a car crash on FM 978 and FM 2289.
Traci Donahoe, born and raised in Normangee, said her hometown is a place where everyone knows everyone. These deaths have been especially difficult to process.
“This is a very tight knit community,” said Donahoe. “So, it’s been hard, to say the least.”
Donahoe said no one should ever have to experience the pain these families are enduring.
“I mean this is a parents worst nightmare. Seeing your child die, in such a horrible accident is just heart breaking.”
The Superintendent of Normangee ISD, Mark Ruffin, said he realized very quickly when he joined the school district just how close the students and staff are.
“You just can’t get any closer than this,” Ruffin said. “We have about 200 people at our high school. The connections these students make are unbreakable. The death of one of our own students has hit all of us deeply.”
The two other people who were involved in the July 17 car crash are in different hospitals. Superintendent Ruffin said he made it a priority to head over to the closest hospital to visit one of the teens.
“I mean all three of these kids have been here for a really long time. Their families are here. One of their moms works here with us. So again, there’s just a closeness to it.”
Ruffin said the most important thing to him is to make sure that Madison County as a whole is here for one another in this tough time.
“The small community that is Normangee goes way beyond Normangee,” said Ruffin. “It brushes into Madisonville and expands into Leon County. So, there are connections in each small city. In moments like these that’s what we need.”
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