Silverdale students coping with loss of Tony Baughman
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- A school community is coming together to remember the life of a fellow classmate. Eighteen-year-old Tony Baughman died Friday in a car crash on I-75 North. Police say he was the driver.
Tony was a senior at Silverdale Baptist Academy. His fellow classmates say losing their friend has had such a big impact on them and that is why they say it is so important for everyone to know the type of guy Tony was.
"The best way for us to deal with it is being together," says Josh Million, classmate and friend of Tony.
A close group of Tony Baughman's friends and classmates gather to reminisce about all the times they shared with him.
"Tony came to me with girl problems a lot, honestly. And I came to him, because that was kind of our thing," says Logan Herring, with a laugh.
They had the chance to laugh about recent funny memories.
"This past week me and Tony, we actually have been, before school everyday, we'd go and we'd steal coffee from the library upstairs," Thomas Leslie laughs.
Ask any of Tony's friends to describe him and you will hear the same things: he was a selfless, loving, dependable guy.
"He was genuine. He was one of a kind," says Herring.
"He was funny, carefree," says Million.
"He was such a caring, caring guy. No matter what, if he was having a bad day, he'd put you first and try to help you out before himself. That's hard to do, you know?"
Seventeen-year-old Logan Fowler was in the car with Tony. He came away from the accident with minor injuries.
"I'm , I'm alright. I'm sore. But I'm ok," says Fowler.
Fowler says he is still trying to process the loss of his close friend. He and Tony shared a bond, both talking about their love of cars.
Fowler says it will be hard coming back to school Monday, only to see Tony's parking space empty.
"You get used to seeing somebody everyday, in between classes, or sitting beside him in a class. And when we come back to school tomorrow, he's not going to be there," says Fowler.
"It's been pretty rough," says Leslie.
Leslie played soccer with Tony and considers him a brother. He says he is relying on support from his friends to get him through.
"Thanks to these guys right here, I'm getting through it. We all are," says Leslie.
And when students go back to class Monday, they will be encouraged to turn to faith for comfort.
"We want them to know that many things go away, but love never dies. It never goes away. Their love for Tony will never go away and his love for them will never go away. It's really a gift," says SBA Headmaster Becky Hansard.
The cause of the crash is still unknown. We do know Tony was not wearing his seatbelt.
Monday morning students will gather in the gym and write letters for Tony and put them in decorated memory boxes, which will be presented to his parents.
They will also release purple and yellow balloons, Tony's favorite colors, in honor of him.
The school will be letting out at noon tomorrow, so students and staff can attend Tony's funeral.
Funeral services for Tony Baughman will be held Monday at Ridgedale Baptist Church. The family will receive friends from one to two o'clock, and the service will be held at two.
He will buried at Catoosa Memorial Gardens.