CLINTON, Ill. (WCIA) — The sudden death of a teen girl is hitting the community hard.
Over the weekend Clinton High School freshman, 14-year old Kloe Weiss, was killed in an ATV accident near her home in rural DeWitt County. She was the passenger; the driver survived.
Now, the community is uniting while grieving her death. The tragedy hit students especially hard. Over the weekend, churches and a teen center opened their doors to the dozens of students in shock.
Some knew her, some never met her, but together, they’re going to keep her memory alive. A gloom is cast over the small town this week. Saturday, Kloe Weiss was killed in an ATV crash.
“It’s heartbreaking what they must be going through, but we want them to know that we are here for them.”
Community members, like Michelle Witz, are lending a helping hand to the family and countless kids who knew Kloe.
“It’s horrible and it hurts so bad, but they’re going to be okay and they need people that have been through it before that care about them to show them that they’re loved and supported.”
The Teen Center isn’t up and running now, but Sunday, the doors were open to give people a place to grieve and write love notes. “I love you” and “I miss you” are now plastered across the downtown windows.
“It makes them feel good to be able to share a little bit of the light that she was with the rest of the community.”
Her light shone bright. Those close to her called the cheerleader a “ball of joy.” Sunday, during large prayer circles, people who didn’t know Weiss personally, heard plenty of stories.
“She was so much loved. It sounds like she was just a vibrant member of the school and the cheerleading team and the band and always had a smile and was encouraging.”
It’s why the return to school Monday was tough.
“Very somber, very sad. We try to create a family atmosphere. I think it’s essential in day-to-day life, but especially at times like this.”
Principal Jerry Wayne says there were a lot of tears and hugging. Grief counselors and therapy dogs are available and another special touch, purple. It was Kloe’s favorite color and a small tribute to her life.
“There’s just no easy answers and that’s why I think it’s important that we all come together and be a family.”
Kloe’s family is asking for privacy at this time, but they want to send one message: This was an accident. It’s being investigated by the sheriff’s office.
Her funeral service will be held Thursday.
Kloe’s death is opening old wounds for many in the community. Just six months ago, senior Spencer Toohill died in a car accident.
The Teen Center allowed students to write notes on the windows then as well.