Talawanda student dies in car wreck over winter break

By Patrick Keck

The high school offered grief counseling for its students after the death of Bryce Hizer, who was a freshman.  Hizer was a passenger in a car that crashed in Franklin County, Indiana. The accident also injured four others in the car, including the driver. The accident remains under investigation.

Talawanda High School offered grief counseling Monday for its students to deal with the death of a classmate over winter break.

An accident killed Freshman Bryce Hizer, Dec. 30. Hizer was a passenger in a 2000 Pontiac that went off the road and rolled over, according to the Indiana State Police. The accident happened about 2 p.m. on Oxford Pike Road at Dorrel Road, west of Oxford in Franklin County, Indiana. 

Hizer died at the scene, police said. 

The four others in the car, all from Ohio, suffered serious injuries and were treated at various Cincinnati area hospitals. The driver, 18-year-old Zachary Ferneding, was airlifted from the scene to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Also injured were passengers  Vivian Hilbert, 16; Zachary C. Dockery, 16; and Tyler D. Heatherly, 15.

Hizer was the only one of the five who was a student at Talawanda. All passengers are from Hamilton County, Ohio.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Stephen Wheeles said Thursday that police are still investigating the cause of the accident and are awaiting the results of toxicology tests. According to the police report, drugs and alcohol are not believed to be factors at this time.

Holli Morris, director of communications at Talawanda, said the district had counselors available Monday, but only a few students utilized the service. 

“The Talawanda community is very saddened by this and will be thinking of and praying for his family and friends during this time,” Morrish said in an email to the Observer. 

Hizer’s family held a visitation service at Cobblestone Church Thursday. A private burial was scheduled for Friday, Jan. 10.