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Grief hits Franklin Co. on first day of school

FRANKLIN COUNTY — Students at Franklin County High School werestruck with tragedy as they began their first full day of classesMonday without the companionship of a well-loved classmate.

As students arrived on campus, news spread quickly about thetragic accident that took the life of a senior Rodrick Wells lessthan an hour before classes started.

Wells, 17, died almost instantly when the vehicle he was drivingwas struck by an 18-wheeler as he left his home heading towardschool at 7:12 a.m. on Highway 98, said a Mississippi HighwayPatrol spokesman.

Students were grief-stricken and “in great shock” when theyheard about the death of the standout basketball player, accordingto Randy Youngblood, career center director at the high school.

“He was a kid who was liked by all different friendship groupson campus, so it has affected the whole campus,” saidYoungblood.

Wells, a lifelong student in the Franklin County SchoolDistrict, is being remembered for the warmth and love he showedothers.

“Rod had personality and poise, and he touched a lot of people,”said Youngblood.

Wells, who was considered a top college prospect in southwestMississippi, was also known for excelling in academics and beinginvolved in academic organizations.

“He was a well-rounded kid,” said Youngblood. “He was in theBeta Club and Spanish Club and he was involved in sports.”

Students were not the only ones mourning the news of the Wells’death. Faculty and administration were also upset about the loss ofsuch an outstanding student, said Youngblood.

“He was respected by the administration and faculty,” he said ofWells, who was the son of Sheila Ramsey.

Funeral arrangements were not available this morning.