Jesse Clark, a 17-year-old junior at Heritage High School, died Saturday evening, March 2.
According to the Georgia State Patrol post 5 in Dalton, Clark was driving along Ga. 151 (Alabama Highway) when he attempted to pass in a no-passing zone.
Troopers said he met a car coming in the opposite direction and snatched the steering wheel to get back in his lane and lost control.
Clark’s truck traveled down an embankment and struck a tree, reports show.
Clark was not under the influence of any type of alcohol or drugs.
Neither Clark nor his passenger in the truck was wearing a seatbelt.
Dakota Basham, 19, who was riding in the front passenger seat, fled the scene following the wreck, and was later located and arrested on unrelated charges.
Basham was booked into the Catoosa County jail early Sunday morning for probation violation on charges of theft and criminal trespassing. He remained in jail Tuesday morning with no bond set.
Heritage High School principal Ronnie Bradford said Tuesday morning that the school has rallied around Jesse’s family and memory over the past two days.
“The faculty and students of Heritage High School are deeply saddened by the loss of junior Jesse Clark,” Bradford said. “Jesse was someone that was impossible to ignore with his boisterous voice and comical character. Our sympathy goes out to his family, particularly his mother and his brother Brandon, a senior here at Heritage High.”
Bradford said Jesse’s friends and classmates have stressed the importance of paying tribute to him.
“Jesse was an avid outdoorsman,” Bradford said. “Many of the students wore camouflage clothing today in his honor. The students have created a memorial banner, planned a prayer vigil, and are in the process of raising funds to help his family with expenses.
Clark’s funeral is scheduled for Wednesday, March 6, at 2 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home in Fort Oglethorpe.