GREENFIELD – A Greenfield-Central High School student died in an accident early Tuesday near the Hancock-Madison county line.
Sarah Overby, 17, of Greenfield, was a backseat passenger in a car that crashed around 1 a.m. Tuesday along State Road 9, just north of the intersection with County Road 1000N.
Investigators say the driver, 20-year-old Jonathan Castillo of Greenfield, likely lost control of the car as he was heading south through a curve in the roadway.
The car struck a nearby utility pole, ripping it out of the ground and causing a power outage in the area.
Overby was seated closest to where the car struck the pole, according to sheriff’s deputies. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Castillo and other two passengers — Isreal Tutrow, 18, of Greenfield, and Desmond Hill, 21, of Anderson — were transported to area hospitals with non life-threatening injuries.
The crash remains under investigation by the Hancock County Fatal Accident Crash Team. North State Road 9 was closed until near 5 a.m. while officers cleared debris and took measurements to reconstruct the accident in an effort to understand what happened.
Castillo cooperated with law enforcement and submitted to a blood test, a standard procedure for any crash in which a person dies, officials said. The sample will be sent to the Indiana Department of Toxicology for testing; results are typically returned within four to six weeks, officials said.
Extra grief counselors were on hand Tuesday at Greenfield-Central High School, where many students learned of their classmate’s death as they arrived for classes that morning.
Overby was a junior at the school, though she was set to graduate early with the Class of 2017. Her friends and teachers described her as a bright student who enjoyed participating in the school’s choir and theater programs.
English teacher Ted Jacobs, who runs the school’s drama department, said in an email to the Daily Reporter that Overby was a kind-hearted teen “who had a smile for everyone.”
Mary Evers, the high school’s longtime choir director, said Overby shone as a member of the choir. She was quiet but always eager to sing.
“I am sure that she had big plans for her future,” Evers wrote in an email to the Daily Reporter. “It would probably involve helping others.”
When she wasn’t singing or acting, Overby loved to write and to be outside, fellow junior Gretchen Miller said, describing her friend as “lovely and lively.” She was dedicated to her friends, she said.
“I’ll never forget her smile and her laugh and how beautiful she was,” Miller said. “She loved everyone. It could be 3 a.m., and she’d be there for you in an instant.”
As students took to social media to express their grief, they coordinated plans to gather outside the high school Wednesday morning for a vigil before class.
Miller said she’s sure the gathering and the next few days of school will be difficult without their friend. But it will be important for them to stand shoulder to shoulder, showing support for Overby’s family as much as each other.
“Sarah would have wanted everyone to be strong,” Miller said.