School is out for the summer, but students are gathering at Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs today after two classmates were killed over the weekend in a violent storm. Diane Ostrowski is spokeswoman for the Council Bluffs School District.
"We want to be able to provide some assistance to those who are trying to deal with this tragedy and we’ll have counselors available," Ostrowski says. Eighteen-year-olds Jacob Hemmingsen and Skylar Shaw were killed Friday night when a large tree fell on their car during a powerful thunderstorm. Both had graduated from the high school this spring.
Ostrowski says at a time like this, it’s important for people to get together, "so that those who want to visit about the life of these young men can certainly do that and also receive some trained counseling." Winds during the storm were clocked gusting to 115-miles an hour, with heavy damage throughout the Omaha metro area that left more than 120,000 people without power.
The boys’ deaths were the only ones reported from the storm. Ostrowski says the sudden deaths of the two teens have left many people in the Council Bluffs area stunned. She says, "The unexpected nature of it and these young men are on their way to starting a new chapter in their lives and it’s just something that we’re all trying to deal with."
Another student at the school survived the incident. Fifteen-year-old Hilary Manlove was in the back seat and was pinned inside the vehicle. A backhoe that was parked nearby was used to free her from the wreckage. She was treated and released at an area hospital.