Local News

Community Mourns After Death Of Hillside H.S. Student

Posted January 12, 2005

— A community is grieving for a popular high school student who died Tuesday after crashing into a school bus.

Police said Tyrone Anthony Smith, 18, was riding his bicycle along a sidewalk, headed to baseball practice, when he was struck by the bus leaving the school parking lot.

Smith was thrown from the bike. He was transported to Duke Medical Center, where he died late Tuesday afternoon.

The Hillside High School senior was well-known on campus. He was the pitcher for the school's baseball team and served as the school mascot.

"I was pretty much devastated because Tyrone was the reason you teach because he was one of the good kids here," said Greg Smith, Tyrone's teacher and coach.

Some describe Smith as the heart and soul of Hillside High.

"He always made people laugh. If you were sad, he made you laugh," said James Louis, Smith's friend.

Counselors were brought in from area schools to offer support to students and staff.

"It's hard for them to understand," said principal Eunice Sanders. "He meant a lot to students here. [He was] very outgoing, very vivacious, never a frown, lots of energy."

Smith used that energy in positive ways, something his coach says is rare these days.

"You didn't have to worry about all the other nonsense going on in Durham. He wasn't into that. He was just happy being Ty," he said.

Baseball practice has been postponed indefinitely and administrators do not know when or if they will replace Smith as the school's mascot.

Durham police said a preliminary investigation shows the bus driver was not at fault. No charges have been filed, but the accident remains under investigation.

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