Sunday, September 29, 1996
Death of two students stun ACHS
By TANYA EISERER
Students, parents and administrators were in a state of shock
after two Abilene Christian High School juniors died in an accident
Melody Claire Hall and Lyn Holly Bell, both 16, were northbound
on Griffith Road when Bell lost control of the car, veered off
the road and struck the treeline at about 10:20 p.m., according
to Abilene Police Lt. John Vedro.
Hall and Bell were both pronounced dead at the scene, Vedro said.
"They grew up with my son," said Debbie Hoffman, who
works in administrative office at Abilene Christian. "They
were both great kids, good students involved in lots of outside
With a total of only about 330 students and 25 in the junior class,
Abilene Christian is a small, tight-knit community, Hoffman said.
"Most of the kids knew them and most of the teachers had
had them," she said. "(The school is) small enough that
when anything happens to us, it happens to all of us. We're a
Hall and Bell were both at the Abilene Christian-Paint Rock High
School game, which was called when a player on the opposing team
was hurt. Abilene Christian won the game, 61-16.
Hall's car was apparently blocked in by an ambulance that had
come to pick up the injured player so she caught a ride with Bell.
The pair went to Taco Bueno and ate with several friends before
dropping Bell's sister off at home.
Attempting to avoid the road construction on Judge Ely Boulevard,
the pair apparently took Griffith Road to return to Elmer Gray
Stadium to retrieve Hall's car. Unfortunately, they never made
Hall, who was born in Marion, Va., moved to Abilene in December
1989 and began attending Abilene Christian in the fourth grade.
She was a member of the Drama Club, first chair in the band and
a member of the yearbook staff.
Born in Irving, Bell moved to Abilene as a youngster and had attended
Abilene Christian since kindergarten. An athlete, Bell was an
active member of the volleyball, basketball and track teams.
"These kids were well-known and well-liked," said Steve
Cunningham, executive director of Abilene Christian. "It's
a real tragedy in a school of our size because of the community
feeling we have."
"Those losses are great and the feelings run deep. The families
are just heartbroken and devastated. We're never prepared for
In trying to deal with Friday's sudden tragedy, the school held
a student-led devotional service in memory of Hall and Bell Saturday
Counselors will meet with teachers today to help them deal with
their own pain and to assist them in dealing with grieving students,
The counselors will also be there Monday. Abilene Christian officials
said students will be let out at 11 p.m. so they can attend the
Services for Hall will be at 1 p.m. Monday at Hillcrest Church
of Christ. Burial will be at the Garden of Memories. Visitation
will be from 2-4 p.m. at Elliot-Hamil Funeral Homes, 542 Hickory.
Hall is survived by father and stepmother, Stuart and Hope Parker
Hall of Abilene; her mother, Janey Hall; a brother, Bradley Stuart
Hall and two sisters, Erin Parker Hall and Margaret Ashley Hall.
Services for Bell will be at 4 p.m. Monday at Hillcrest and burial
will follow at the Garden of Memories. She is survived by her
parents, Joe and Jane Bell and one sister, Erin Bell.
Memorials for both Bell and Hall may be given to the Abilene Christian
Schools, 2550 North Judge Ely Blvd., Abilene 79601.
All content copyright 1996, Tanya Eiserer,The
Abilene Reporter-News and Reporter OnLine
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