Community mourns student killed in wreck near school

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JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. - Students and staff at North Sand Mountain School in Higdon are mourning the loss of 14-year-old Thomas Coleman.  He died while trying to cross Highway 71 Tuesday afternoon, hit by a passing car.

The school held an assembly for staff and students as a way to come together and begin the healing process.

"We've got counselors, we've got pastors, we've got administrators from others schools and they're going to let the students talk and let them share, " said Jackson County superintendent Kevin Dukes.

Principal Dustin Roden says the loss of Thomas Coleman is a tough one.  "I'm heartbroken right now," he said.  Over the past year Roden served as a mentor to Thomas.

"Smart, intelligent ... he thought outside the box.  He was very genuine and respected by his peers," remembered Roden.  "He's one of those kids you spend 10 minutes with them and you feel better and he feels better about himself," he added.

A GoFundme account has been started to help the family with burial expenses.

Funeral services for Thomas will be held this week.  The viewing is Thursday from 5-8 p.m. and the funeral is Friday at 2 p.m. in the Bryant Chapel at Moore Funeral Home in Bryant, Ala.