West Jessamine football player dies in a traffic collision

Published 12:05 pm Wednesday, July 3, 2024

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16-year-old West Jessamine High School Student and Football Player Jared Suárez was killed in a collision on the afternoon of Saturday, June 29. 


Even though school is out for the summer, the community, including counselors, coaches, administrators and support staff came together at West Jessamine High School (WJHS) on Sunday, June 30 to support students and parents navigating their grief of this beloved student. 

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According to WJHS Principal Brady Thornton, Jared was a good kid who always had a smile on his face, would say hi in the hallway, was on the football and cheer teams and was someone who “impacted students, which was clear by the number of students that came to our event last night,” Thornton said.


The grief support event had about 20 or 25 students who attended. “It was good. We got the chance to kind of equip them with some adults there to help them work through this and then also give them an opportunity to share what was on their minds, and talk with their friends,” Thornton said. “It wasn’t necessarily a sad event. There were some laughs and smiles because I think they were thinking about some of the positive things, too.”


Families of students were also in attendance, particularly cheer and football families who knew Jared through those programs. In addition to providing adults to counsel students, WJHS also had their therapy dog, Stitch, in tow. 


“It’s just not something you ever want to have to experience with your students. It’s unfortunate, and what we’ve always seen in situations like this, is our community and our school comes together, they grieve together, and they get stronger through that,” Thornton said, “We’re here to support our kids now and then even as we come back to school, even though it’s summer time, we want to make sure they have the support they need so we put some stuff on our website and our facebook and we just encourage kids to reach out to us and let us know what we can do to help them.” 


The WJHS Facebook page has several infographics about dealing with grief, what to say, what not to say, and so much more that can be helpful for people in pain, and those supporting them.


Nicholasville Police Department Public Information Officer Sam Wade confirmed the location and circumstances of the collision. Jared was driving southbound on U.S. 27 near Keene Centre Drive. He was in the left lane moving into the right lane when his back right bumper struck the front left bumper of another vehicle. He then lost control of his vehicle, spun off the road and was ejected from the vehicle. The road was then closed for three and a half hours. 


Jessamine County Schools Superintendent Sara Crum released a statement regarding the loss of Jared Suarez.


“It is incredibly tragic when a young person’s life ends too soon. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Jared Suarez at this very difficult time. As we mourn Jared’s passing, our priority is to ensure that his family and our students and staff are supported with whatever assistance needed. Our counseling and crisis response teams are providing help to those affected by this tragedy and we will continue to offer support for as long as necessary. Grief can raise many complex emotions and we encourage students to discuss what they’re feeling with our counselors and other staff members. As our close-knit district family comes together to comfort and care for one another, we wish strength and healing for Jared’s loved ones, the WJHS school community, and all of those impacted by this terrible loss.” 


A GoFundMe to help Jared’s family with funeral expenses was posted on Monday on the WJHS Facebook page.


“​​We deeply miss our teammate, friend, and brother, Jared Suarez. We continue to pray for comfort and healing for all his family and friends. As we learn more details, we will share the best ways we can help support Jared’s family during this difficult time and beyond. We want to be respectful of his family’s wishes and needs while honoring Jared’s legacy throughout our extended Colts community,” reads the WJHS Facebook post 


Within five hours, the community has raised $24,957 of its $20,000 goal for the Suárez family.