Three people killed in early morning car crash
Hartsburg-Emden juniors Gage Bell and Gage Klein were remembered Monday by the students, faculty and staff at a gathering in Hartsburg.
Illinois State Police reported Bell, 17 and Klein,16, of Emden, were in a car traveling west on Route 136 just west of County Road 3700 East in Mason County when it collided with another car about 1:37 a.m. Sunday.
According to ISP, Bell was driving when the car crossed the center line and into the path of Blake A. Anderson, a 30-year-old from San Jose. All were killed in the accident.
Hartburg-Emden Superintendent Terry Wisniewski said the boys, who were best friends, came to the district less than three years ago and were typical high school boys.
“We have 18 students in the junior class so everyone is close. After learning about their deaths we wanted to provide a safe place for students to come and share their grief. Counselors from Tri-County as well as area pastors will be on hand this week in the event students want to talk about it,” said Wisniewski.
He said both students were interested in vocational courses at Hartem, a Logan County school with about 120 students.
“They were both into the trades and excelled in that department. They enjoyed the agriculture, wood building and animal science classes that are offered,” he continued.
Co-workers say they will miss Klein who was a dishwasher at the Hornet’s Nest in Heyworth.
Ann Froman, of Lincoln, who manages the restaurant, said Klein started two weeks after the restaurant first opened in January 2021.
“Gage was pleasant to work with and most respectful to our customers and staff,” said Froman.
“Gage became like my son. We would set outside at work and talk about life and I would tell him about the things he should be doing or not doing,” she said.
“I’m so heartbroken over losing this young man. He was my go-to guy when I needed things done and we would tease each other, laugh together and just talk. He was one of a kind,” she said.
A special account has been set up at the Farmers State Bank in Emden for donations to help the families with funeral expenses. The Hornet’s Nest also will donate a portion of the proceeds from Aug. 25 to help with expenses.
According to Wisniewski, Hartem’s first day of school on Wednesday will go on as planned.
“These two will be remembered during the graduation ceremonies of the class of 2023 with chairs with their names listed. We will also include them on our memorial wall that honors students who have passed.”