Community Coping with Teens' Death

By: Whitney Daniel
By: Whitney Daniel

Maryville (WVLT) - Grief counselors have been on hand all day at Maryville High School to help students, teachers and parents cope with the deaths of two sophomore students.

It's very tough for any community to deal with the death of a teenager, but to deal with two in one day, three in one week, is unbearable.

Two lives cut short at 16.

"The principal got us together to deliver the news to us. It was real tough. It was a real tough meeting," says school counselor Kaye Buckley.

Two students at Maryville High School: Steven James Webb and Matthew Ryan Bibb, both sophomores, died in a car crash.

"It's really a time to think about the wonderful memories you've had and these were wonderful young men and to remember those times," says Buckley.

The crash comes at a rough time for the school community. Just a week ago, another student, 15-year-old Matthew Aaron Cooper, died in a motorcycle wreck. Counselors are reaching out to students and teachers.

"A lot of people forget about the staff and how tough it is when they lose a student who's been in their classroom," says Buckley.

But, with Christmas just days away and the halls of Maryville High empty, counselors can only do so much. "We encourage students to seek outside resources... we have some wonderful youth pastors in our area... a lot of close-knit families. We encourage students to seek out those resources."

Police say Webb and Bibb had just left school for the holiday break.

Webb was driving West on Sevierville Road. Witnesses say he passed one car and then tried to pass another, but he faces oncoming traffic. Police say when coming back into his lane, Webb overcorrected into this ditch before slamming into a utility pole.

That pole now serves as a memorial, as a reminder of two lives lost too early.

Funeral arrangements for Matthew Ryan Bibb are being handled by Smith Mortuary in Maryville.

Family will receive friends from eleven until one Friday, December 22nd.

Funeral services will be held at one, burial follows at East Maryville Baptist Church.

You can make memorial donations to Smith Mortuary to help with Matt's final expenses.

No word on funeral arrangements for Steven Webb just yet.


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