HAZEN (KATV) - The Hazen community has been rocked by a horrible accident. After school Tuesday, 17-year old Josh Tripp was killed when his ATV crashed head on with a truck. He reportedly got pinned under it and the collision sparked an explosion.
There are no words to describe how devastating this is and the pain loved ones feel right now. If you can see any silver lining in this, Josh will live on. You see, his girlfriend is due to give birth to their son in December.
This community of less than 1,500 is in mourning, flying flags at half staff for 17 year old Josh Tripp. He was born and raised in Hazen.
Sundae Hood recalls, "When I first meet him, I didn't know him. I didn't trust a lot of things, but as time grew I began to trust him more and I saw how much he loved my daughter."
Sundae calls Josh her son. He has been dating her daughter for nearly 2-years. "He loved her with all his heart and he showed it."
Six months ago, Sundraleana Anderson,16, told her mom she was pregnant. "At first it hurt me but then I saw the way he handled it. He got job and he took care of everything."
Josh skipped playing football this year, his senior year. Friends say he never stopped talking about his unborn son that he helped name, Jordan Elijah Tripp. They had life figured out, graduate high school, then go to college while grandparents took care of the baby… But it all changed in an instant Tuesday. "She said ‘Why would God take him from me.' I said Sundraleana, this is all his choice. Whatever is God's decision, we have to live with that. I said he knew it was going to happen. He knew what his plan was for Josh and he knew what his plan was for you so he left a piece of him with you."
It is hard to see right now, but Sundae says there will be brighter days ahead for everyone missing Josh, when Jordan Elijah Tripp is born.
Hazen High school has volunteers, ministers and counselors on hand as needed for students.
Josh Tripp's family declined an interview Wednesday but say he was "precious" and they are proud he took his senior pictures Tuesday, hours before his death.
UPDATE: The Tripp family wants to clarify that funds raised will not only go to the funeral cost but to the family of Josh's son.
The "Joshua Tripp Memorial Fund" is set up at Farmers and Merchants Bank in Hazen. (You can also write Josh's parents name on the check. Jim Tripp and Ginger Sarringar)
The banks mailing address is:
130 W. South Front
Hazen, AR 72064
Hazen High School Principal talks to KATV:
Most students went to school Wednesday. Principal Roxanne Bradow says a small city where everyone truly knows everyone helps in times like this. "This is the second student in this particular senior class that we have lost within the past month so, and they were both two tragic accidents."
Josh went to the public school all his life. He is related to staff and grew up with the student body. When administrators were notified of the accident Tuesday, they got together and called in volunteers, ministers and counselors from the surrounding area. Wednesday morning, students walked in to school to an assembly to break the ice before going to class.
Principal Bradow adds, "I think the kids are handling it very well but we will be watching to make sure that over the next few days, weeks and months that everybody is doing ok. It is very difficult when you lose a friend and these kids are all really close."