published Friday, November 11th, 2011

Gordon Lee High School population shocked by student's death


by Andrew Pantazi
  • photo
    Allie Pritchett, left, and Megan Wolinsky comfort each other on the sidewalk Thursday beside Gordon Lee High School. Student Jordan Queen died in a car accident Wednesday, and students placed flowers in his parking place to memorialize him.
    Photo by Angela Lewis.
    enlarge photo

CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. -- Students outside Gordon Lee High School laid down flowers Thursday and remembered Jordan Queen's goofy smile. He always showed his teeth, they said, and the eyes behind his tinted glasses would always crinkle.

Jordan, who celebrated his 17th birthday Saturday, had wrestled since sixth grade, was involved in Oakwood Baptist Church's youth group and worked with his dad's construction company on the weekends.

It was beginning to rain Wednesday night as he left wrestling practice just before 6 p.m. On Lee Clarkson Road, his Chevy pickup truck slid at a curve, the Walker County Sheriff's Department said. He overcorrected and his truck hit a tree. Forty minutes later, he was pronounced dead.

On Thursday, the school brought in grief counselors and held an assembly where students recalled their favorite memories of Jordan and said how much they'd miss their friend.

"We're trying to help start the healing," Principal Clay Crowder said. "Being a small school, everybody knows everybody."

Camilla Loggins, a senior, hung out with the same group of friends as Queen because she runs cross country with his best friend. Hours after school let out Thursday, Camilla stood by a makeshift memorial to Queen at the school and cried as she tried to talk about him.

"He was very sweet," she said. "He would always help anybody."

Taylor Burns, a senior, was in a physics class with Jordan. She said that though nobody spoke much in class, Jordan was goofy and kept everybody lighthearted. The teacher called him "McQueen."

Brent Raby was Jordan's wrestling coach in middle school and high school. He named Jordan as the 220-pound starter, and though the team didn't have captains, Jordan was one of the leaders.

"He was the guy who always had a smile on his face," Raby said. The last time he and Jordan sat down for a one-on-one conversation, Jordan talked about how he thought the team could win the state championship.

about Andrew Pantazi...

Andrew Pantazi is an intern at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who says that when he was 7 he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life: play hockey for the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately, he says he wasn't any good at hockey, so he became a journalist instead. He writes about the lives we hide, like the man who suffered a stroke but smiled, or the football walk-on who endured 5 ...

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cbarney4 said...

so sad! so young! God Bless!

November 11, 2011 at 1:04 p.m.
HoosierGuy said...

Prayer for this young man's family and friends.

November 11, 2011 at 5:16 p.m.
rolando said...

This sad story is too common here. A pickup/SUV, wet roads, a curve...and another student gone.

Makes one wonder what our Driver's Education teachers teach our kids. Certainly not how to stop a slide on wet pavement...perhaps prevent it before it starts.

My condolences to those he left behind; theirs is the true tragedy.

November 11, 2011 at 8:43 p.m.
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