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Family & friends react to death of 2 Kountze students
KOUNTZE - by Lauren Huet
Family, friends, and classmates are dealing with the loss of two Kountze High School students. Sixteen year old Savion Smith and eighteen year old Keiron Edwards died in a two vehicle crash Friday, South of Kountze.
Department of Public Safety troopers say Smith and Edwards were riding in the backseat of a friend's Kia. The driver of the Kia, 17 year old Jacob Eppes of Kountze, was headed southbound on US 69. An unidentified vehicle was stopped in the northbound lane of US 69, waiting to turn left onto Colonial Road. Eppes slowed down to make a left turn onto Hooks Cemetery Road. As he turned, a Chevrolet SUV passed the stopped, unidentified vehicle on the northbound shoulder of US 69 and struck the Kia.Troopers say Eppes tried to speed up to avoid a collision, but the SUV hit the rear passenger door.
Eppes was treated at the scene for minor injuries, as was the front passenger, 17 year old Thomas Buller of Kountze. Savion Smith was pronounced dead at the scene, he was sitting in the rear left passenger seat. Keiron Edwards was transported to St. Elizabeth hospital by helicopter, but died at the hospital. He was seated in the right rear passenger seat.
The driver of the SUV is 62 year old John Delagarza of Beaumont. He was not injured, and DPS says this is an active crash investigation.
Demorna Burrows says her younger cousin Savion Smith was a brother to her.
"Sae was a good person. Sae had a beautiful soul, a beautiful mind, very smart. He would be, if I was feeling down, Sae would always make me feel better," said Burrows.
Burrows says Smith was smart and wise beyond his years.
"Every single time if I would call and I would say, 'Sae, I don't think I'll be able to pass a test,' or anything, Sae was like, 'Mar, you can do this. I believe so much in you,'" said Burrows. "Every time he was so encouraging to me about everything. And I loved him."
Dustin Cahanin, a senior at Kountze High School, is on Keiron Edwards' football team.
"He was athletic, outgoing," said Cahanin. "Me and him had classes together, and we were always laughing, joking and playing around."
Summer Brown, a junior at Kountze High School, also had classes with Edwards.
"He was really cool, he was funny," said Brown. "He was like one of those popular kids who was always active, and was in football, and all of that."
Brown was shocked when she heard the news.
"I was really thinking about his sister, how devastated his sister is going to be, and how everyone is going to be sad that he's gone, and it really devastated everyone," said Brown.
"Everybody is going to be hurt. It's a big loss," said Cahanin.
Burrows says, if she could speak with Smith right now, this is what she'd tell him:
"I just want you to know that I love you so much. I'm glad I was able to talk to you before you died, and I'm glad I was able to hug you before you left. And I just wanted you to know, you made me so proud while you was here. And you're going to be greatly missed," said Burrows.
Smith's funeral date and time are pending with Coleman's funeral home in Kountze.
Kountze ISD Superintendent Reese Briggs released this statement:
"Kountze ISD and our community are deeply saddened by this tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with each family and the many friends of the young men lost and those injured."