UPDATE: Memorial service to be held for student fatally struck while biking to school
The teen was riding his bike to nearby Lookout Valley Middle/High School, where he was an 11th-grader.
UPDATE: Lookout Valley Middle/High School officials tell Channel 3 that a memorial service will be held for J.T. Pruitt on Saturday.
The service will be available to the public and begins at 3:30 p.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. at the Lookout Valley Church of the Nazarene.
Donations for the family can also be taken to Wilson Funeral Home in Fort Oglethorpe, or to Lookout Valley Middle/High School.
PREVIOUS STORY: Channel 3 is learning more about the 17-year-old boy killed Wednesday in a bike accident on his way to school. Family members identify the victim as J.T. Pruitt; a junior at Lookout Valley Middle and High School. He was killed while attempting to cross five lanes of traffic on Browns Ferry Road.
Police say the driver hit him from behind. Friends and family are still trying to understand the tragedy.
Principal Rushworth said it was one of the hardest announcements he ever had to make, but said students are coming together to remember their beloved classmate.
Signs with notes of love and heartache fill the hallways at Lookout Valley Middle and High School as students continue to grieve the death of their dear friend, J.T. Pruitt. “Kids at different ages deal with grief in different ways but we are trying to allow students to express their feelings to write notes, and cards, banners and posters to the family,” said Principal Rushworth.
J.T. was a junior who loved history class and socializing with his peers. His smile was always a familiar face to students walking the halls, everyone enjoyed spending time with him. “Very well loved by the entire school. He had an impact on our students and staff and we miss him greatly.”
After school he would ride his bike to the Church of the Nazarene where he was involved with the youth group and loved visiting the younger students. “Very energetic, brought life to people he was around. In youth group if he wasn't here everybody knew he wasn’t,” said Pastor Brad Griswold.
His death is a heartbreak for this tight knit community. A young life taken so suddenly but his impact on lives, will always live on. “Going to be phenomenal memories, have good laughs just talking about J.T. and his life.”
Counselors will continue to comfort students during this trying time. Principal Rushworth said the students are bonding together and turning a tragedy into something more than pain and sorrow. “Kids will be making a bike rack in the student’s honor with his name and plate on it and will be dedicating that in the future,” said Rushworth.
J.T.'s family wanted to continue his giving spirit and decided to donate his organs to help other families. Funeral arrangements are still pending.
PREVIOUS STORY: A teen bicyclist who was on his way to school was killed Wednesday morning when he was hit by a car. The crash happened on Browns Ferry Road just before 7. Police have not yet released the identity of the victim. They do tell us, the teen was riding his bike to nearby Lookout Valley Middle and High School, where he was an 11th-grader.
It was a very difficult day for students as they learned about the death of one of their classmates. Counselors will remain at the school for staff and students as they try to comprehend this tragedy.
Just after the morning Pledge of Allegiance, students at Lookout Valley Middle and High School received a painful announcement. “He said students and teachers stop everything you're doing there is a student in a tragic car accident and he is no longer with us,” said 7th grader Derek Scott.
Derek Scott left school early. The heartbreaking news was too much for him to grasp. “I was in band and I just dropped everything and just started crying.”
They didn't have any classes together, but Scott always looked up to the junior. A young man with a kind heart and a bright smile. “I would always call him my cousin or brother because we were so close. He was a brother to me.”
Friends said the student was one of a kind, someone everyone wanted to be around. “There was something special about that kid. Always put a smile on my face. I always loved him, I always will,” said Blake Ledford.
Police said the boy was crossing the highway when he was hit from behind. But officers are still investigating Wednesday’s tragedy, trying to piece together exactly what happened.
“It happened at 7 this morning, it is still dark. I think it was the lighting or something. But we don't know,” said Justin Kilgore with the Chattanooga Police Department.
For now, the focus is on the loss of a beloved friend and student. Someone whose smile will be deeply missed throughout the halls of Lookout Valley.
“Always put a smile on his face, even if the day was rough. He'd always talk and be friendly,” said Scott.
Families can contact the school office or their child's school counselor for help and assistance. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.
PREVIOUS: A male student was fatally stuck by a car while riding a bicycle to school Wednesday morning.
The crash happened on Browns Ferry Road just before 7:00am near Lookout Valley Middle/High School.
The female driver stopped immediately and is co-operating with police.
Students were notified of the accident about 8:00am. Counselors are at the school to help students.
Police believe smoke was not a factor in the crash, and they urge pedestrians, runners and cyclists to use sidewalks, bike lanes, and wear reflective vest for safety.
Stay with Channel 3 and WRCBtv.com for more on this developing story.