TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Palestine community is grieving after three teenage girls died and three more were injured after a wreck in Smith County in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The single-vehicle wreck on FM 2661 happened just north of CR 1110 around 3 a.m. Three people died and three more were taken to a Tyler hospital with injuries, DPS Sgt. Adam Albritton confirmed.
According to a DPS report, Raven Clewis, 19, of Dallas, Jumija Clewis, 17, of Elkhart and Sherie Butler, 17 of Palestine, were all pronounced dead at the scene. DPS said it is unknown if either Raven or Jumija were wearing seatbelts. According to a report, Butler was not.
Jaylah Spurlock, 17, of Palestine and Brianna Price, 17, of Palestine were taken to Tyler hospitals with non-incapacitating injuries and Chimsi Okonkwo, 16, was taken to a Tyler hospital with incapacitating injuries.
Palestine ISD Director of Public Relations Larissa Loveless said that a recent high school graduate and an 11th grader were among the fatalities in the wreck.
“It is with great sadness Palestine ISD shares the loss of PHS students, students Ju’Mija Clewis and Sheriee Butler. Ju’Mija graduated with the class of 23, and Sheriee had completed her junior year at PHS. Please remember their families in your prayers as they move through this difficult time,” Palestine ISD posted on Monday.
Loveless said that the school community is shaken up by the crash.
“Getting that news early in the morning is just devastating and shocking,“ said Loveless.
Butler and Jumija Clewis were both members of the girl’s basketball team. Loveless said members of the coaching staff have been assisting both families during the difficult time.
A student-led vigil will be held in front of Palestine High School Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in remembrance.
Officials said the car was traveling north on the road when it left the roadway and struck a tree.
Texas DPS said the investigation is ongoing.