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Elizabethtown High School was missing a lot on Tuesday.
Sophomore Tristan Clark died early Tuesday from injuries he sustained when a car struck him on North Miles Street Monday afternoon.
The 15-year-old was walking south on Beech Street when just before 4 p.m. Monday he was struck by a westbound Nissan sedan driven by a 17-year-old female EHS senior. Clark was crossing North Miles Street.
Upset by the collision, she also was absent from EHS on Tuesday.
Elizabethtown Police Department spokesman Virgil Willoughby said Tuesday morning that investigators had not yet interviewed the driver.
“(The driver) is extremely shaken,” Willoughby said. “We will do our jobs, but it will take some time.”
Preliminary investigation points to no traffic violation contributing to the collision, Willoughby said.
Police would not comment on what actions may have contributed to the impact.
“It’s just very tragic,” Willoughby added.
The collision remains under investigation.
Counselors were made available to students Tuesday and staff was left to grieve the loss of a special friend and classmate.
Joella Nall, an EHS instructional assistant who worked with Clark described him as a “bright, compassionate young man.”
“He was always there to give us a hug or a pat on the shoulder. He would often talk with me, whether it was about class work or everyday things,” Nall said.
Tanya Major taught social skills to Clark last year. She said he loved chocolate-glazed doughnuts.
She described him as a “very loving boy” who would be missed as part of the school community.
Special Education teacher Holly Walker described Clark as a “smart” and “unique” young man who stood out in the crowd.
“Tristan ... liked to joke around, either with silly words or with a tap on the opposite side of you to make you turn around and look the wrong way,” Walker said. “I don’t think he ever got tired of that ‘trick.’”
Social Studies teacher Susan Montgomery remembered Clark as a huge fan of University of Kentucky sports.
“He had this UK hoodie that he loved and wore all the time,” Montgomery said.
According to Montgomery, Clark spent much of his final day at school being excited about a new set of UK Wildcats coasters he’d recently acquired.
EHS Principal Steve Smallwood learned of Clark’s death early Tuesday morning.
Knowing an EHS student was behind the wheel of the car involved, Smallwood said, made Tuesday doubly hard for faculty and students to deal with.
“It’s a tough day,” Smallwood said. “Our hearts go out to both of our Panther families ... impacted by this tragic accident.”
EHS officials plan to plant a tree in Clark’s memory on the high school campus sometime in the near future, according to Smallwood.
The Elizabethtown Board of Education has established a memorial trust fund in Clark’s name through First Citizens Bank. Questions regarding the account may be directed to Marilyn Ford or Jennifer Gray at First Citizens Bank.
Clark’s wish was to donate his organs, and through his giving he helped seven people have a better life, according to his obituary.
The funeral is at 1 p.m. Friday in the Worship Center of Severns Valley Baptist Church with the Rev. Thomas Green officiating. Burial will follow in Hardin Memorial Park.
Visitation will be Thursday from 2-8 p.m. at Dixon-Atwood & Trowbridge Funeral Home and Friday after 11 a.m. at the church.
Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.
The Tristan Clark Memorial Fund
Those wanting to support The Tristan Clark Memorial Fund can drop off checks made payable to The Tristan Clark Memorial Fund, at any First Citizens Bank location, or mail checks to:
First Citizens Bank
Attention: Tristan Clark Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 1630
Elizabethtown, KY 42702-1630
Questions regarding the account may be directed to Marilyn Ford or Jennifer Gray at First Citizens Bank.