Auto Accident Claims Life Of Forbes Road Senior
In a rural area the loss of one life is tragic and affects many, possibly even more so when the individual is a child with so much potential and life yet to live. Last Wednesday night, the Forbes Road School District suffered such a loss with the death of Class of 2012 Vice President Ashlyn Buterbaugh.
Having just finished a shift at the McConnellsburg-based Sheetz, a job she had only held in recent weeks, Buterbaugh was heading northbound on Great Cove Road when for unknown reasons her 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier travelled into a large ditch at 10:27 p.m.
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Travis Garner reported Buterbaugh’s car struck three trees before rolling onto its roof, blocking the southbound lane between Nine Mile Run Lane and the village of Burnt Cabins. In addition to state police, the Hustontown Volunteer Fire Co. as well as Medic 60 were dispatched to the scene in Dublin Township.
The 18-year-old had not been wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred. She was removed from the vehicle after responders pried off the car’s door, reports state. Cause of death has been linked to blunt force trauma, stated Fulton County Coroner Berley Souders, who pronounced the teen dead at the scene at 11:35 p.m.
Self-described as bold, quirky and caring, Buterbaugh had an effect on not just her senior classmates but students of all ages and the entire faculty at the junior/senior high school.
Chorus director Ryan Wade, who is only in his second year at the district, was afforded the perfect opportunity to truly bond with Buterbaugh only the week prior to her passing. Wade, Buterbaugh and fellow senior Steven Varney travelled to Penns Valley High School on January 27 for the annual district chorus concert. The trip allowed for ample time to discuss the trio’s passion for music.
“Ashlyn was a very dedicated music student. She was a leader not just in her section but in the entire chorus. Not only was she a great singer, but she was a great person who was always willing to step in and do what ever it took to improve our choral program,” Wade told the “News.” “The other members of the chorus really respected her, and her accomplishments are evident through her participation in two district chorus festivals and numerous county chorus festivals.”
Buterbaugh’s presence will also be sorely missed in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) organization overseen by teacher Leann Smith. Buterbaugh had made a name for herself in the club in recent years and in April 2011 placed eighth overall in the client service category at the state FBLA leadership conference. More than 3,500 individuals were in attendance at the event.
Having placed well at regionals again this year, Buterbaugh was slated to attend the state conference this spring in hopes of bringing home yet another award to Forbes Road.
“I have known Ashlyn since she was in the ninth grade, and it was a pleasure to watch her grow into a bright and mature young lady preparing for graduation. Ashlyn was a shining star in the FBLA. She won first place last year in the client service event and placed first this year in the impromptu speaking event. Ashlyn’s family has a lot to be proud of, and she will always have a special place in my heart,” said Smith following the girl’s passing.
Buterbaugh was also active in Student Council, SADD, TATU and the new Kayaking Club, although her true loves were hunting and target shooting with her father, poetry and photography. Her plans for the future included attending college to become a social worker and work within the prison system.
Buterbaugh’s tragic death had a profound effect on the student body, who gathered in the auditorium last Thursday morning to hear firsthand from administrators about the single-vehicle accident. In a letter to district parents, high school Principal Christina Ramsey explained grief counselors were available over a several-day time frame for any student wishing to talk about the tragedy. Additional SAP personnel, local pastors and counselors and the Mental Health Association were also on hand.
“Ashlyn was a unique, independent young lady that everyone enjoyed being around. Ashlyn had a special way of making everyone laugh when they were in her presence. I feel truly blessed to have gotten to know Ashlyn while here at Forbes, and she will be truly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family during this tough time,” Ramsey stated.
The outpouring of compassion following the accident has been overwhelming as friends and classmates gathered at the accident scene Friday morning and remained side-by-side throughout the weekend’s services. On the social networking site Facebook, family, friends and acquaintances posted a variety of messages on Buterbaugh’s personal page. The comments range from fun moments together, recaps of first-time meetings and descriptions of Buterbaugh as person-caring, warm-hearted, unique and a fashionista.
Those adjectives were aptly put as Buterbaugh described herself in the 2012 Cardinal Yearbook as bold, with her favorite color leaning toward anything shiny, independent and caring. Her caring nature was also evident in her senior will where she wished her younger sister, Miranda Buterbaugh, the ability to see how amazing she is and live up to her potential; senior Joy Ford the ability to realize how beautiful she is and live life without fear; and freshman Hannah Purnell the ability to continue being herself and to never allow people to hold her back.
In addition to being survived by her sister, Miranda, Buterbaugh leaves behind her parents Gerald and Sherri Buterbaugh of Hustontown; and grandparents Jane and Richard Doney, also of Hustontown; and Frieda Mannetti, Needmore.
Buterbaugh’s obituary can be found on page B3 of the “News.”