West Hall High School’s student body was absorbing its second tragedy in the space of a week Monday as news spread that a well-liked sophomore was killed in a weekend car crash.
Omar “Yony” Hernandez, 16, died Friday night after the car he was riding in ran off the road on a curve in South Hall.
“We’re just grief-stricken,” said Jackie Adams, principal of the 1,000-student school.
Last week the school lost another beloved student, Brian Ernst, 19, to cancer, Adams said.
“Now this week, to have this, it’s been extremely hard for our student body and our teachers,” Adams said.
Hernandez was described as an outgoing, popular student.
“He loved his school; he loved life,” Adams said. “He was just a really positive young man. You never saw him when he didn’t have a smile on his face.”
Hernandez was an avid soccer fan, and was riding with friends from a West Hall soccer game to a Flowery Branch soccer game when the wreck occurred.
Georgia State Patrol officials said Jamie Davila, 16, was driving a 1995 GMC Suburban at about 9:35 p.m. Friday when he lost control on a curve on Elizabeth Lane. The car ran into a wooded area and overturned.
Hernandez, who was in the back seat and was the only occupant not wearing a seat belt, was ejected and killed.
Davila and a 16-year-old female passenger whose name was not released by the patrol because of her age were slightly injured. There was no indication that alcohol was involved, but traffic citations are pending completion of the wreck investigation, patrol officials said.
Sherry Williams, one of Hernandez’ former teachers, said educators who knew him were “just in shock.”
“He was a good kid, very friendly, a little bit of a jokester,” Williams said. “He was a good son who helped his family out, and he was always looking out for his little brother. We’re just heartbroken.”