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Teen brothers dead after Jefferson car wreck

Both were members of Jefferson High marching band

POSTED: November 19, 2015 1:31 p.m.
LEANNE AKIN/Times regional staff

A roadside memorial is placed near the intersection of Damon Gause Bypass and Old Pendergrass Road where a Nov. 18 wreck resulted in the death of two teen brothers. In the recent past, the community had appealed for a traffic light at the busy intersection, but its presence was not enough to prevent this accident. Weather conditions may have been a factor in the accident that killed two teenagers, but the Georgia State Patrol is still investigating.

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Teen brothers and musicians were killed in a Wednesday night two-vehicle wreck in Jefferson.

William John Trimble, 17,  was transported to Athens Regional Medical Center with injuries after a crash around 7 p.m. Wednesday night. His passenger, brother Alexander Trimble, 15, was fatally injured at the scene.

William Trimble succumbed to his injuries Thursday morning.

A Toyota Corolla driven by William Trimble was traveling north on Ga. 11 when the vehicle turned west on Old Pendergrass Road in front of a Freightliner rental truck traveling south on Ga. 11. The Corolla was struck on the driver’s side by the Freightliner, according to the state patrol post in Athens.

Michael Vandiver, 44, of Jefferson, was driving the truck and was transported to Athens Regional Medical Center with injuries, according to Georgia State Patrol.

The impact pushed the Toyota onto the grassy median at the busy intersection at Loggins Corners where Kroger is located.

Jefferson Police Chief Joe Wirthman was first on the scene of the wreck that occurred less than a quarter mile from the teens’ home. Weather conditions likely played a factor in the tragedy, said Wirthman, who was told the teens were going for pizza.

Jefferson High School had posted “JHS Remembers Alex and William Trimble” with photos of the brothers on its website Thursday.

“When you lose one student, it’s bad enough. But when you lose two, it’s really particularly devastating,” Jefferson High School Principal Kevin Smith said.

A fundraiser in the Trimble family name had more than $12,000 in donations by Thursday evening.

The Trimble brothers were members of the marching band as snare drum players, according to Jefferson High School Director of Bands Kris Plummer. Smith said the school organized counseling efforts for students affected by the two deaths.

“The band kids in particular have taken it extremely hard,” Smith said.

Plummer knew the two Trimble brothers to be kind kids who worked to build people up around them.

“They didn’t want to be better than you,” he said. “They wanted you to be better because of them. They wanted you to rise to their level, and they wanted everyone to really maximize their potential.”

On Thursday, a memorial with balloons flying in the breeze had been placed and students from Jefferson High School, including fellow band members, and other friends of the brothers were gathering.

William Trimble was a senior at the school and Alex was a sophomore.

“Both young men were a big part of our band program, have been very gifted musicians,” said Smith, who considered the two to have “bright futures.”

William Trimble was co-captain of the drumline and played drums for the school’s jazz band, while his younger brother played other instruments and discussed trying out for drum corps, Plummer said.

“I think they both had plans for music to be a pretty significant part of their future,” he said.

The Jefferson community is coming together to support the family with a fundraiser from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday at Swirlee’s Frozen Yogurt in downtown Jefferson. A percentage of total sales and all customer donations will go to the family.

LeAnne Akin contributed to this report.



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