Grief counselors at Butler County high school today after student’s death in crash

A rollover crash left a car upside down in the woods off an Indiana rural road this week with a Talawanda High School student dead at the scene, according to Indiana State Police. Freshman Bryce Hizer’s death has stunned the Oxford school community and grief counselors will be available to students when classes resume at the high school Monday. (Provided Photo/Journal-News)

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A rollover crash left a car upside down in the woods off an Indiana rural road this week with a Talawanda High School student dead at the scene, according to Indiana State Police. Freshman Bryce Hizer’s death has stunned the Oxford school community and grief counselors will be available to students when classes resume at the high school Monday. (Provided Photo/Journal-News)

Grief counselors will be at Talawanda High School today in the wake of a deadly crash that took the life of one of the school’s students.

The counselors will be there to assist any classmates of Talawanda freshman Bryce Hizer, 15, who died on Dec. 31 after the car in which he was riding careened into the woods next to a rural Indiana road.

The rollover crash, which ejected the driver, saw Hizer die from his injuries at the scene at Oxford Pike at Dorrel Road in Indiana’s Franklin County, according to Indiana State Police.

Police said Thursday they are still investigating what caused the car in which Hizer was one of four passengers to swerve off the road and had no further details to release.

Hizer lived in Oxford and attended Talawanda High School as a ninth-grader, said Holli Morrish, spokeswoman for the Butler County school system.

“We are devastated to hear this news,” Morrish said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. We will have grief counselors available at the high school when classes resume Monday.”

Morrish described Hizer as having been mentored this school year by some school administrators and teachers.

“They are devastated by this,” she said.

“It is always terrible when events like this occur, but certainly very difficult when things like this happen during the holiday season,” according to a statement released by Talawanda officials, conveying their sympathy for Hizer’s family and friends.

Police said the 2000 red Pontiac was driven by 18-year-old Zachary Ferneding.

Ferneding lost control of the car, which left the north side of the roadway and rolled, ejecting Ferneding from the vehicle.

The car then rolled into trees, coming to rest on its top. According to police, Ferneding was airlifted to an area hospital.

Three more passengers, Vivian Hilbert, 16, Zachary C. Dockery, 16, and Tyler D. Heatherly, 15, all from Ohio, suffered serious injuries and were taken to area hospitals for treatment, said police.

Alcohol and drugs are not believed to be factors at this time, but toxicology results are pending, said police.

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