Kaleb Valliant, 18, of Aberdeen, and Thadius Markle, 18, of Raeford, had been close friends since the third grade, playing on the same sports teams, playing in the high school jazz band and double dating.
Markle had quite the reputation on campus for playing bass. Valliant was captain of the varsity soccer team and ran track, and he planned to play soccer this fall at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Their sudden deaths a week before the senior prom and less than a month before graduation left the school in mourning Monday.
"We do have counselors on staff, as well as social workers and the school psychologist, and we have nurses that are working as well," Peggy Owens, director of student support services for Hoke County High, said of efforts to help classmates cope with the deaths.
“They were on track to graduate, and so we’ll begin making plans to make sure their memory is recognized at graduation,” Owens said.
Police said Valliant was driving a 1995 Isuzu Trooper on Camden Road at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday when he ran a stop sign at the intersection of Cumberland Road. Another car slammed into the SUV, which rolled over and ejected at least one of the teens, police said.
Both teens were taken to nearby hospitals, but they died of their injuries.
Zariah Campbell, 16, who was with the teens in the SUV, also was injured in the wreck, but her condition was unknown.
Two people in the Lincoln that hit the SUV were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Police have not filed charges in the wreck, which remains under investigation.
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