Tragedy has once again struck the Franklin Parish community.
Hunter Z. Graham, 18, a senior at Franklin Parish High School, was killed Sept. 17 when his 1998 Chevrolet Silverado crashed on La. Hwy 135, south of J.J. Hatton Road.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. today (Wednesday) at Life Church in Winnsboro with visitation beginning at 10 a.m. Franklin Parish public schools will be closed Wednesday.
This is the third FPHS student in as many years to be killed in an automobile accident.
According to a Louisiana State Police Troop F report, Graham was not wearing his seatbelt when his southbound vehicle exited La. Hwy 135 and overturned.
Graham was pronounced deceased by Franklin Parish Coroner’s Office. Impairment is unknown; however, routine toxicology samples were taken and submitted for analysis, according to a Troop F report. The crash remains under investigation.
Teachers, friends and family flooded social media over the weekend offering condolences to Graham’s family and remembering the well-liked student and friend.
“We are so blessed to have had Hunter in our lives,” wrote Jaimie Havard. “He was a ray of sunshine always smiling, talking, making us laugh. If you knew Hunter, your life was better by him being in it. It’s church morning and that will also never be the same without you there, but we will remember the good times always. He was one of a kind, and we were blessed to be a small part of his life.”
FPHS Principal Rebecca Bonner called for prayer as the school begins mourning Graham.
“Our hearts are broken this morning at FP as we learn of the tragic death of senior Hunter Graham,” Bonner wrote on FPHS’s social media page. “We ask that everyone please pray for the Graham family and our FP family as we grieve the loss of Hunter.”
Curt Curtis, an FPHS coach and administrator, described Graham as helpful with an “extraordinary work ethic.”
“Hey coach,” Curtis wrote. “I never knew what followed these words from you Hunter, but you could bet a smile always would. You may be telling me you had me a wild pig, or telling me what was wrong with all my junkie stuff you fixed for me, or challenging me to pick up something heavy back when I was in shape. If it needed fixed, welded, moved or built you were the man, and amazing at everything. We all feel cheated by your passing. We will all miss you terribly. This I know, the world was cheated too by not getting to witness your extraordinary talent, work ethic, and tremendous heart for all. Love you Liz, David, Jordan and my sweet Elsie.”
In June, Graham was recognized by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain for earning credentials in the field of Agricultural Career Developent. Graham earned credentials in NCCER Core, Level I Welding, OSHA 10 and Basic Life Support.
In 2022, Troop F has investigated 21 fatal crashes, which have resulted in 25 fatalities.