Hazel Green Teenager Dies in Wreck in Meridianville

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A teenager died in a single-vehicle wreck in Meridianville.  It happened early Wednesday evening on Patterson Lane.

The teen, Jeremy Pinder, was a sophomore at Hazel Green High School.  He was 16 years old and a member of the school's golf team.  His family and friends knew him as 'J.R.'

Jeremy 'J.R.' Pinder

"We are deeply saddened by Jeremy’s death," said Geraldine Tibbs, Director of Communications for Madison County Schools.  "Jeremy will be missed by the Hazel Green High School family, community, and all that knew him.  We extend sincere sympathy to the Pinder family and want them to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them."

Pinder loved to hunt.  Lon Onstrzyinski was his uncle, but also his hunting partner, pastor and close friend.

"He was such an incredible kid, said Onstrzyinski.  "He's gonna be dearly missed."

"He loved the outdoors, loved God's creation," said Onstrzyinski.  "We'd sit in a duck blind... we would look toward the eastern sky when the sun would rise, and we would just thank God for another day and his creation, enjoy it together as a family."

Shock and disbelief filled the halls at Hazel Green High School on Thursday, as students struggled to come to grips with the loss.

"I've known him since I was old enough to talk," one student said.  "I played t-ball with him. He was a great kid, and he's gonna be a great loss."

"Just well-liked, and always did the right things here at school," said Darrell Long, Hazel Green's Principal.  "His father was overwhelmed with the support given by the students last night and into this morning."

J.R. was a standout on the Trojans' golf team, and saved his career best for his final day on earth. A one-over-par on a challenging course, just hours before he died.

Pinder was also an A-student, avid outdoorsman, and loyal friend.  But family members say most importantly, a follower of Christ.

"Absent from the body is to be present with the Lord," said Onstrzyinski. "Our hearts ache, and hurt real bad, but we know he's more alive than we are because he's with the Lord."