A somber day for Lee High students - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

A somber day for Lee High students

April 25, 2006

Lee County -- Another Lee High student has been killed in a wreck. Seventeen-year old Brian Botkin, an 11th grader, was killed when his truck flipped and he was thrown out Monday. He was not wearing his seatbelt.

Tuesday, a team of counselors met with students. As you can imagine, the news of Brian Botkin's tragic death shocked and devastated students at Lee County High, especially his closest friends.

It also brought back chilling memories of other Lee County students who've died in the last few years.

Brian Botkin's friends and classmates write down memories and thoughts about him on this make-shift memorial in the school's hallway.

Student Chris Moore said, "He was a great friend. He loved everybody."

Botkin was a 17-year-old junior who was active with the Junior ROTC. His friend Chris Moore says Botkin loved to joke and read. "It's hard to believe that something like this would happen. It's hard to deal with. He's a great friend."

Principal Dr. Bill Truby said counselors are helping students with their grief. "There are so many aspects that are sad. You look at the potential that won't be reached. You look at the void that's here."

Students are encouraged to write notes on the wall memorial and letters to Botkin's parents. Dr. Truby said, "It's not just for the family, but also it's some therapy for us to that we get to write what's on our hearts as well."

Outside the school, the flag is flying at half-staff in remembrance of him. Students also organized a prayer for Wednesday morning at the flag pole. Students will gather around to pray for Brian Botkin and his parents.

Dr. Truby says Botkin's death also stirs memories of other student tragedies. "Unfortunately, they are all very vivid in our minds. The faces go before us often."

    • In the last three years, three other students Lee county High School Students have been killed.
  • Fifteen-year-old Shayla Griffin was killed in a wreck on Armena Road in October 2005.
  • Seventeen-year-old Wesley Beaver was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy in February 2005.
  • In September 2003, 16-year old Jonathan DiPietro was killed in a car wreck on Oakland Plantation Road.

Dr. Truby said counselors will continue to help students as long as they're needed. And the school flags will stay at half staff until after the funeral.

Brian Botkin's funeral is Friday at 3:30PM at First Baptist Church of Leesburg.

    • Seat belt Stats -

Teens have the highest fatality rate in motor vehicle crashes. One key reason for this is that they have lower safety belt use rates than adults. Seat belts reduce the risk of deaths by 45% to 73%, and the risk of serious injuries by 44% to 78%, depending on the type of vehicle and seating position involved.

Seat belts are credited with preventing 11,900 deaths and 325,000 serious injuries annually. The deaths and injuries that result from not wearing seatbelts costs an estimated $26 billion annually in medical care, lost productivity, and other injury related costs.

Georgia is the only primary seat belt state that exempts pickup truck drivers and passengers 18 and over from wearing seatbelts.

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