Two CHHS freshmen die in wreck

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 3, 2004

A tragic accident on the Needmore Road early Saturday morning took the lives of two Charles Henderson High School freshmen.

According to Tommy Waters, public information officer for the Alabama State Highway patrol, Amy Belcher, 15, and Sarah Jacobs, 14, both of Troy, were killed when the vehicle in which they were riding left the road, stuck a power pole and overturned.

Michael Howard, 17, the driver of the vehicle, and Adam Johnston, 15, both of Troy were transported to Troy Regional Medical Center for treatment, Waters said.

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Julie Thomas, counselor at Charles Henderson High School, fought back tears as she spoke of the two girls, who were outstanding and popular students.

"This has ripped out the hearts of these kids," Thomas said of the members of the freshman class at CHHS. "Every one of their lives has changed. Right now, they are holding on to each other. There's strength in numbers and they need the strength of one another."

Thomas' daughter

is a member of the CHHS freshman class, and was a close friend of Amy and Sarah. Some members of the class gathered Saturday night and sifted through pictures and remembered.

"We always said that the world wouldn't have beauty without Sarah and wouldn't be fun without Amy," they said. "We don't know what to do."

Thomas said those who knew and love Amy and Sarah will have many difficult days ahead as they begin to learn what life will be like without their two friends who brought so much joy to their lives.

The accident left the entire Troy community in shock, said Debbie Groover, sponsor of the Twenty-One social and service organization.

"Amy and Sarah were members of Twenty-One and I loved them dearly," Groover said. "This is a very difficult time and I can't find words to say what I am feeling. My heart and prayers go out to their families."

Groover said she talked with several members of the Twenty-One Club on Saturday

and they are all having a hard time dealing with the loss.

"We have 44 members, from ninth to twelfth grade, and they are all very close," Groover said. "Amy and Sarah were freshmen but they had friends in all grades. This is going to hit the entire student body hard. They were both as cute as a button and very popular. They were always happy and fun to be around. This is one of the worst things that I have ever experienced."

Groover said that she is also concerned about the young people who are having to deal with this tragedy.

"We need to keep Amy and Sarah's families in our prayers and all of these young people, too," she said. "They are going to be deeply affected by this."

Amy is survived by her parents, John and Gilda Belcher, and sisters Laura and Emily. Sarah is survived by her parents, Don and Donna Jacobs, and sister, Allison.

Citing his status as a juvenile, authorities would not say if Howard had been charged or if he was being held.

By law, juvenile offenders must have a hearing before a judge within 72 hours of being detained. At that hearing, a judge can determine whether to grant youthful offender status or charge a juvenile as an adult under Alabama law.