Southern Indiana small town mourns high school senior killed in crash

Community mourns following death of high school athlete, friend

LANESVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - A Southern Indiana high school student died in a car accident this week in Harrison County.

Eighteen-year-old Thomas Elder failed to make a sharp turn on Grange Hall Road and his car struck a tree, police said.

Elder was one of just 70 students in the Lanesville High School class of 2020.

“It’s a devastating loss for the whole school,” Superintendent Steve Morris said. “It especially hits the senior class hard. But he was also known by grade 7 through 12. So he was a well-known kid, involved in a lot of activities.”

Elder ran cross country, played basketball and sang in the school choir. He talked of one day going into law-enforcement.

On Thursday, pastors and counselors from a half dozen churches, even some comfort dogs, were at the school helping Elder’s friends and classmates.

“I think because we have such great support from our local faith community that it really helps our kids process their grief and deal with situations like this,” Morris said.

A prayer vigil at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lanesville Thursday drew hundreds of people. It is the church where Elder often served communion.

People who knew him said his big smile and big personality would have made him stand out in any-sized town.

“I think it just says that I think he was I think at peace with himself as a person,” The Rev. Bob St. Martin said. “When a person is happy all the time they’re at peace with themselves.”

Funeral services for Elder are scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at St. Mary’s in Lanesville.

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