Lindsborg community remembers Owen Odell

Courtesy: Harly Watkins

LINDSBORG, Kan. (KSNW) – The town of Lindsborg is remembering Owen Odell, the 15-year-old boy who died in a crash in Ellsworth County Sunday.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said Odell died as the pickup he was driving crossed the center line and hit another Ford pickup. Odell’s truck caught fire.

Friends of Odell are still in shock.

“I had a hard time going to sleep last night,” said Harly Watkins.

McKenzie Burks said: “I didn’t think anything like this would ever happen.”

With his bright, orange mullet, those that knew Odell said he lit up the hallways at Smoky Valley High School — not just with his hair, but his compassion toward others.

“He was just one of those kids who made people feel better about themselves being around them,” said Smoky Valley High School principal Bill Nelson.

Since Monday morning, Smoky Valley students have been gathering at the school processing the news. The high school had counselors and local pastors available to talk to students.

Many students shared their memories they have with Odell.

“I’ll never forget the time he asked me if he could be my best friend,” said Watkins.

Burks described Odell as a loving person.

“He was always a shoulder to cry on,” she said. “He always had your back.”

While the Lindsborg community mourns the loss of Odell, they said it’s their faith that will help them stay positive.

“We all will definitely miss him,” Burks said. “But we all have it together, so we could move on together.”

The Lindsborg community is also praying for the family involved in Sunday’s crash — the Scritchfield family. The driver, Garrett Scritchfield, is the principal at Smoky Valley Middle School. According to school officials, he had an emergency surgery.

His wife, Kayla, and four-year-old daughter, Maleah, are also in the hospital. The two-month-old, Ava, was not injured in the crash.


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