A 17-year-old girl was killed and another critically injured, following a Thursday night, December 31st, two-vehicle collision on the New Harmony Road, approximately four or five miles outside of the Lafayette city limits.
Samantha Lee Baxter, of Hartsville, Tennessee, was behind the wheel of a 1999 Toyota Camry, driving northbound on the New Harmony Road, when she lost control while negotiating a curve, traveling into the southbound lane and colliding with a 1998 Dodge pickup, driven by Daniel Smith, of Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee. Baxter was pronounced dead at the scene by County Coroner, Steve Jones, and Kimberly Wooden, age 18, a passenger in the car, sustained life-threatening injuries and was air lifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in Nashville, Tennessee.
The 7:00 p.m. wreck also injured two other juveniles who were passengers in Smith’s pickup truck, and they were transported in a privately owned vehicle to Macon County General Hospital for treatment. The driver remained at the scene, apparently uninjured.
The two teenagers in the Toyota were pinned in the wreckage, and it took firefighters and rescue squad members more than 45 minutes to extricate the victims, using the hydraulic ram and cutters. “Every wreck has it’s own challenges,” said Matt Cross, of the Lafayette Fire Department, “and I just wish we could have done more at the scene, but under the circumstances we did everything possible.”
The investigating officer was Sergeant Ashley Mercer, of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, who was assisted by Sgt. Mark Brawner and Deputy Jacob Law of the Macon County Sheriffs Department.
Those responding to the scene included the Lafayette Fire Department, Rescue Squad, EMS, Macon County Sheriffs Department, and the THP.
Samantha Baxter was a member of the Senior Class of 2010 at Macon County High School and a memorial service will be conducted at the school, located at 2550 Days Road, on January the 10th at 2 P.M. with Bro. Jason Haley officiating. The family will receive friends from 12 until the service time on Sunday.
In light of the fatally injured student, and Kimberly Wooden, who is still listed in critical condition at Vanderbilt Hospital, counselors have been made available at the school for students, faculty, or staff who might need them. In addition, a letter is being sent home with every student, which provides information for parents concerning the grieving process. Several memorial activities are taking place at the school throughout the week as a way of remembering the senior whose life was lost.
Honorary pallbearers will be the members of the Class of 2010. Samantha was preceded in death by her father, Shane Baxter; grandmother, Sherrie Baxter; great-grandfather, R.C. Bearden; grandfather, Jack Seely. She is survived by her loving mother, Johanna (J.B.) Crowder; sister, Amy Grace Crowder; step-sister, Kaysi Crowder; step-brother, Tyler Dozier; aunt, Jackie (Troy) Tuttle; uncle Jeff (Ginger) Seely; grandparents, C.W. and Gail Baxter; grandmother, Jenny Phillips; great-grandmother, Marie Bearden; several cousins, other relatives and a host of friends.