SELLERSBURG — The Sellersburg community is grieving the loss of a 12-year-old boy who died Tuesday after being hit by a car.
His family has identified Bryce Jacobs as the child who was hit while crossing U.S. 31 in Sellersburg, according to news gathering partner WAVE 3. He later succumbed to his injuries.
"Thank you to everyone that has reached out in various ways or came to the hospital last night...it has been comforting and overwhelming at the same time," his father, Danny Jacobs, said in a Facebook post Wednesday. "...Please hug your family a little extra tight tonight."
While not releasing the child's identity, Sellersburg Police Chief Russ Whelan confirmed that the boy was crossing the road on foot toward the Circle K around 4 p.m. when he was hit by a southbound vehicle.
Whelan said when he arrived at the scene minutes later, people were already administering CPR, which the chief also assisted in. Bryce was transported to Clark Memorial Health, and later to Norton Children's Hospital. At night, Whelan got a call that the child had not survived his injuries — something which has shaken the community as it stands ready to help the family in any way.
"Any death is bad," Whelan said. "The death of a child is worse."
Whelan said the driver, who had no time to break before the collision, immediately stopped at the crash site and does not face any charges. He was not speeding on the 40 mile-per-hour road, and police determined he was not driving under the influence.
"He didn't break any laws, but he's still being punished [by himself]," Whelan said. "Trust me."
Whelan said he's already received many calls from community members, businesses and the township trustee's office, asking how they can help the family with whatever they need.
"The support of this community has always been great," the chief said. "When something bad happens, they're all willing to jump in and help out.
"That's the community we live in."
At Silver Creek Middle School, where Bryce attended, extra counselors have been brought in — including grief counselors from Centerstone — to help students and staff cope with the loss of their classmate, student and friend.
"I don't think there's really words that would describe some of the pain and hurt that's going on," Principal Todd Balmer said. "This school is a like a family and it's like losing a family member.
"There's a lot of pain, a lot of hurt and a lot of empathy for the family, just knowing that they're going through so much."
Clemen Perez-Lloyd, superintendent for West Clark Community Schools, gathered her staff first thing Wednesday to discuss how to handle the loss, while still trying to maintain stability within the school.
"Obviously, you're never prepared for something like that," she said. "You don't have something that's particularly going to make everyone better, but we do have some resources to provide some sort of normalcy in the kids' lives today.
"Even though we do expect instruction to go to a somewhat normal level, we're very flexible and we understand that we will need to support the kids, staff and parents, if necessary. So we're trying to put as many resources as possible in place, but it's a very difficult situation and we [will] all come together as a family."