Medford, Ore. — Family and friends of Robert Ernst V are remembering him, after the teen was killed in a car crash last weekend. The 17-year-old North Medford High School student died after his car drove off foothill road Sunday afternoon.
“Anytime we lose a member of our school community, it, it’s really traumatic,” Medford School District Communications Specialist Natalie Hurd said. “Our schools are tight knit communities and our students and staff feel the loss.”
Hurd noted helping students process their loss is the District’s top priority.
“We initiate what is called our STAT Team protocol,” Hurd said.
STAT stands for School Trauma Assistance Team. It’s made up of four teams of five to eight counselors each.
“They’re equipped with all sorts of things like arts and crafts, or cards that students can make for family members,” Hurd said. “They’re also available to just speak one on one with students, to do group counseling sessions, whatever the situation demands.”
The Medford School District is also encouraging students to look at the whole picture.
“We do believe that it’s really important to notify our students and staff of whatever the facts are surrounding the situation, and then to provide them with resources to begin that grieving process.”
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash that took Ernst’s life. Sergeant Julie Denney said drivers on Foothill road at the time saw the scene unfold.
“There was a car in the oncoming lane, and the people in that car saw the vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed in the oncoming lane, and then cross back over through his own lane, and then off the roadway,” Sgt. Denney said.
Denney said speed was a factor in the crash.
At this time, a memorial or candlelight vigil has not yet been planned.