A West High School senior was killed on Thursday night after an accident on Interstate 35.
West Independent School District David Truitt identified the student as 18-year-old Jacob Bates. Bates played on the school's football, baseball and basketball teams.
"Please keep Jacob's family in your prayers," Truitt said in a Facebook post. "It's times like these that I feel so blessed to be in West. I know everyone will come together to support each other and most importantly the kids."
West High School Athletic Director and Head Football Coach David Woodard who knew him closely said his leadership and commitment was an example to other students.
“Every time you saw him, he had a smile on his face and he could light up a room like no other. He was one of those guys who everybody liked and to some of the younger kids, he was, I mean, maybe even a little bit larger than life," Woodard said.
DPS Sgt. Dave Roberts said Bates drove into the back of an 18-wheeler that was stopped in traffic.
Truitt said district staff and counselors will be on hand for students Friday morning, along with the West Ministerial Alliance and Region 12 Crisis Team.
All student events are canceled for the day as well, including the baseball scrimmage and pep rally.
"Our focus right now needs to be on our kids and the Bates family," Truitt said.
Woodard has been supporting students and Bates' family during this tough time.
“It was important for everything Jacob and his family have done for our community, that they know, we are here to do whatever they need us to do and to help them through this, the best way they can," Woodard said.
A prayer service has been organized in memory of Bates at St. Mary's Church in West on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Roberts said there was a chemical spill on the interstate at Hilltop Street, north of Elm Mott when the accident happened in the southbound lane. There was a clean-up crew on scene when the crash happened.
Bates was transported to the hospital with severe injuries and passed away later that evening.
His funeral service is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 4 p.m. at West High School Gymnasium. Burial will at White Rock Cemetery and visitations with the Bates family be at Aderhold Funeral Home Chapel from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
According to Bates' obituary, Bates was the first athlete to be a four-year letterman at West where he played football, basketball and baseball.
Donations in Bates' memory can be made to the White Rock Cemetery Association or to the charity of the donor's choice.
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