Durant High School students, families gather to honor 8th student death within a year

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT
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DURANT, Okla. (KXII) - Austin Nolan marks the eighth Durant High School student to lose their life in the past year.

Nolan, 19, was being driven by her boyfriend, Josh Donelan, Friday when a pickup truck crashed into the passenger side of the car as Donelan was turning onto Waldron Road from 9th Avenue.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

“You couldn’t leave her side without at least one hug. She always wanted a hug,” said Donelan’s sister Dezaray, who said Nolan was like a sister to her. “Whenever Josh and her would say hang out she would always say hi to me and give me a hug. She just acted a part of our family.”

Donelan’s mother, Terry Vandiver, said that he tried to save Nolan at the scene of the crash.

“He tried to pry the door open and get to save her and he couldn’t,” Vandiver said.

She said her son has been heartbroken since Nolan died.

“He was not okay and he’s still not,” Vandiver said. “He doesn’t want to go to school, he don’t want to go to graduate, he don’t want to even go back to work.”

In a statement to News 12, Durant ISD Superintendent Duane Meredith said “our entire community has been profoundly impacted by the loss of students this year within the Durant Lion Family. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families, students and staff during these times.”

Jack Sarver, Kaleb Foster, Fernando Flores and Hunter Ford were killed when their vehicle was hit by a drunk driver last Memorial Day Weekend.

Elijah Moore drowned in July. Jared Pierce died in November in a forklift accident. Christopher Wilkerson died in December in a crash in Collin County, alongside his grandparents.

A former student who had transferred out of Durant schools, James “Riley” Minchey, also died in January.

For Vandiver, she said losing Nolan was like losing a daughter of her own.

“I lost one as well as saving one,” Vandiver said. “I’d rather have them both here.”

If you or someone you know is need of help, there are resources available.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

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