A horrific single-vehicle accident near Collinwood on Friday, April 19th claimed the life of Collinwood High School student Ashtin Steve Grimes, age 16.

   According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday, a 1998 Ford Explorer driven by Grimes was northbound on Catawba Road just outside the Collinwood city limits. The preliminary report states that the vehicle hydroplaned, exited the left side of the roadway, and struck a tree. The vehicle then overturned onto its passenger side and struck another tree. The THP report states that the vehicle then caught fire.

   Ashtin Grimes, the young man driving the vehicle, was tragically killed in the accident. Two passengers in the vehicle suffered minor injuries.

   THP noted in the report that the driver and one of his passengers were wearing seatbelts, and neither drugs nor alcohol were factors in the accident.

   Grimes was a sophomore at Collinwood High School. Since the accident, there has been an outpouring of grief, remembrances, and prayers on social media, and CHS students and staff held a time of prayer and remembrance for Ashtin on Monday. One of his former teachers, Mrs. Kala Abernathy, posted the following poignant words to social media after the accident:

“Educators teach for the future. From August to May, we prep and plan to ensure growth in our students. We teach for their academic success, but we pray for their future. We dream for them & push them to be successful humans outside of school. After their year in our classroom, we do not forget them. We stand in the crowds or on the sidelines, cheering for their accomplishments and successes. Watching with pride, as they dive headfirst into the future that awaits them. 

Last night, the future stopped. Time stood still. A student was tragically taken from this world. Without explanation, and without reasoning, the future stopped. 

Sweet Ashtin. I can still see his mischievous grin while entering my classroom. I can close my eyes and see him sitting in a desk, three rows back, laughing at his friends’ jokes or talking about the previous night’s game. I’ll never forget the way his eyes would get bright when a new concept clicked for him, or his constant requests to go outside for class. 

I’ll never forgot Ashtin Grimes or his energetic spirit, love for sports, and golden heart. 

Once again, our small community is left shattered. Broken pieces of bewilderment and shock, grief and sorrow, are scattered among our kids. My thoughts, heart, and prayers are with Ashtin’s family as they blindly walk through this unbearable and unimaginable loss of a son, brother & uncle. My heart breaks into a million pieces while thinking of a group of young men, who are questioning why they had to lose their friend, teammate, & brother. 

Please pray for our kids. Our youth. Our future. Pray for their teachers, who are struggling with how to best support their students, while trying to understand how to handle their own shock and grief. Pray for everyone who loves Ashtin in the days, weeks, and months ahead.”