Students Honor Bedford Co. Crash Victims, Family Arrange Funerals

Bedford Co., VA - The Staunton River High School community continues to grieve the loss of two students in a tragic car accident.

Jacob Baird, 17, and Katie Thurston, 16, died in a crash on the way to school Wednesday morning.

Their families spent the day making funeral arrangements as classmates found ways to honor their memories.

There is a wreath and candles at the site of the accident on Route 24 just about 6 miles from the school. Friends of Jacob and Katie say they plan to gather there after the funerals.

Thursday, students arrived at Staunton River wearing their school colors, black and gold, to pay tribute to the classmates they lost.

Baird was on the football team.

"He's been dedicated to football and everything he set his mind to since he was very young. He's been in the weight room ever since 7th grade. He's non-stop hard work, no matter what. Anything he'd set his mind to, he'd do," said Evan McGhee, a teammate.

McGhee says Jacob's 10-year-old brother is playing in a recreational league game this weekend, that's now been renamed the Baird Invitational. Jacob was supposed to referee the game.

Lotz funeral home in Vinton is handling the arrangements for both families. Baird's visitation is Saturday from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. at the funeral home. His funeral is Monday at 2 p.m. also at the funeral home.

Thurston's arrangements are not set.

As for the other students involved in the crash, Katie Thurston's brother Shawn Hall is in serious condition at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Gradon Graybill, known as Lewis to classmates, is out of the hospital.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off