Students killed in car crash on their way to Hamilton Heights ball


Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Lendon Byram’s name.

Two high school students were on their way to Hamilton Heights prom on Saturday night when they were killed in a wrecked vehicle.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office identified the students as Lendon Byram and Kalen Hart. Byram was driving and Hart was the front passenger. Two other students in the car were injured.

Hart’s Instagram page says she was a member of the 2021 class in Hamilton Heights. Byram was a class of 2022 at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis.

Lendon Byram, a Cathedral High School junior, was killed in a wreck on Saturday with his date, Kalen Hart, on their way to the Hamilton Heights High School prom.  Kalen was a senior in Hamilton Heights.

Two other school-aged passengers in the backseat of the car were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

Superintendent Derek Arrowood firstannounced the news on the school society’s Facebook page. The district canceled all prom-related activities and said it will have bereavement counselors available at the event venue and at the high school.

“We share our sincere condolences to the families of the students affected by this tragedy,” Arrowood said in a statement released on Saturday evening. keep these families and our students in your thoughts and prayers.

Hamilton Heights High School

“No parent should ever have to bury their child,” Kalen Hart’s mother, Jody Bartrom Conaway, said on Facebook with an ad for a seeking fundraiser of $ 15,000.

“My 18 year old daughter and her boyfriend were killed in a car crash on her way to the prom,” she wrote. “The person I am collecting for the Kalens family will receive the money to help pay for the funeral and burial costs. Anything you can donate is greatly appreciated.”

In another post, with a photo of Byram and his daughter, Conaway wrote: “This photo was taken at my mom’s retirement party a few weeks ago. I couldn’t even see my baby girl. in her ball gown. I love you so very much, Kalen Rae! I am so proud of the young woman you were becoming. Rest easy my little girl. “

Hamilton Heights announced on Sunday that bereavement counseling services would be available for students and families from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the high school media center.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own, Principal Kalen Hart, and her prom date, Lendon Byram, due to injuries sustained in a traffic accident yesterday. an unimaginable loss for these families and our school community, ”he added. said the statement. “Our goal right now, as a District, is to provide support to students, staff and families during the difficult days and weeks ahead. School counselors and support staff will be available to meet with students and their families this afternoon between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the high school media center to help with grief, adjustment and the process. healing, as well as providing additional resources. “

The statement also said that Monday the school will follow the regular class schedule “with additional staff available throughout the day to help students during this difficult time.” Virtual students were encouraged to contact the guidance office or come to the school for assistance.

“During this time, we encourage our families to stay close, connected, and be aware of the signs of grief, which can produce a range of painful feelings, emotions and / or behaviors. Grief is personal and everyone experiences and experiences loss and trauma. differently, ”the school said. “If you or your children need additional support to cope with this tragic event, please do not hesitate to contact our school counselors or the many resources available in the community … Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the families and to the friends of these young students. “

The cathedral posted an article about Byram’s death on its Facebook page early Sunday.

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we share the passing of Lendon Byram ’22,” the school said. “We ask you to pray for Lendon’s family, friends and all who knew and loved him.”

Cathedral also announced that councilors and members of the school’s faith community will meet at 1 p.m. at the athletics / football training ground to mourn and pray.

The school posted a similar message on Twitter that ended: “Rest in peace, Lendon.”

Grace Trahan-Rodecap, a spokesperson for the school, said Byram was recently inducted into the National Honor Society. He was also a member of the school’s speech and debate team and was scheduled to represent Cathedral and Indiana in the national competition in June in the international improvised speech category.

Hudson Miller, a classmate at Cathedral, posted a moving memory Sunday on Twitter: “Crazy how much you were talking about the excitement you had of going to a prom last week.” Miller wrote. “Our corner of the room will not be the same. Still not settling down with me. Look for us here Lendon.

The wreckage is under investigation by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Ryan McClain said officers were dispatched to a two-vehicle wreck at 281st Street and Lacy Road around 5:15 p.m.

Both students were in the front seat of a four-door car and were pronounced dead at the scene. Two other high school age passengers were in the backseat and transported to St. Vincent Hospital with non-fatal injuries, McClain said.

Only one driver was in the other car, an SVU, and refused medical treatment at the scene.

McClain said officers did not believe drugs or alcohol were a factor. The cause of the wreckage is still under investigation.

According to social media accounts, Hart was a senior and was preparing to attend Indiana University at Kokomo.

Hamilton Heights is a small district in northern Hamilton County, about 45 minutes from downtown Indianapolis. The ball was scheduled to take place at the Kokomo Elite Banquet Center with a post-ball event scheduled at Bowl 32 in Noblesville.

This story will be updated.

Call Arika Herron, IndyStar education reporter, at 317-201-5620 or email her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @ArikaHerron.

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