Friday accident claims life of 16-year old PLAS student

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 19, 2003

A two-vehicle automobile accident Friday night claimed the life of a Troy teenager.

According to information from the Alabama State Troopers post in Dothan, Steven Blake Rountree, a 16-year-old student at Pike Liberal Arts School, was killed Friday when his pickup truck collided with an 18-wheeler driven by Jimmy Floyd of Dothan. The accident occurred on Highway 231 South.

Rountree was expected to challenge for a starting position on the offensive and defensive lines for the Patriots this season. At 6-4, 260, he was one of the bigger players on the Pike Liberal team.

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"As best I can tell from what I've heard, he pulled out in front of an 18-wheeler," said Pike Liberal football coach Mack Williams. "That's all I really know."

Rountree was the son of Mike and Janice Rountree of Troy, and would have been a junior at Pike Lib. He was remembered as a fun-loving person who was easy to be around.

"Everyone loved him," said Lawton Dean, a student at Pike Liberal Arts. "He was fun to be around."

Williams agreed with Dean and spoke highly of Rountree.

"Everybody loved Blake," Williams said. "I liked him a lot."

Williams, who recently moved out of Troy into the country, said he had spoken to a few of the team members and one coach.

"I got a call about midnight (Friday) night from a coach calling to tell me about it," Williams said. "Then a player called and I talked to him.

"(Saturday) I am trying to mow the yard, but I didn't get much sleep last night."

Randy Bruner, the youth minister at Park Memorial United Methodist Church said losing someone like Rountree is a tragedy.

"They don't get much better," he said. "He was an awesome kid."

Bruner said Rountree played an active role in the youth group and served as a strong leader.

"His life was committed to the walk with Jesus Christ," Bruner said. "He understood what life is about and he was learning to become a contagious Christian."

Bruner will speak at Rountree's funeral, something Bruner has never done before.

"Kids like that are irreplaceable," Bruner said.

Williams said he was not sure how to help the team deal with Rountree's death, but he could offer a few words of advice.

"It's just a tragedy, that's all I can say," Williams said. "You just have to get your priorities right and make the best of each moment, because tomorrow is not promised."

Staff Writer Cheyenne Martin contributed to this report.