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Unexplained crash kills 3 FFA students in Ripley Co.

Curtis, Samantha and Jacob Curtis, Samantha and Jacob
Versailles, IN (FOX19) -

Three chairs will sit empty at South Ripley High School on Friday after an unexplained crash killed three members of its Future Farmers of America.

17-year-old (Timothy) Curtis Bowman of Osgood, Indiana; 18-year-old Jacob Vogel of Versailles, Indiana; and 18-year-old Samantha Hanson of Holton, Indiana, died Thursday morning at the intersection of Fairgrounds Road and County Road 850W. Their school superintendent says they had been serving breakfast to farmers at an FFA event at Hopewell Church, which is nearby. He doesn't know why they left what was supposed to be an all-day event.

According to what state police investigators have pieced together so far, Bowman was driving a red Ford F250 pickup truck and Hanson was in the front seat with him. Vogel was a passenger in the other white Dodge Ram pickup, driven by a juvenile survivor of the crash.

An Indiana State Police spokesman says investigators have not yet had a chance to question the juvenile or the other two survivors: 15-year-old Caleb Cumberworth of Holton, who was riding in the white Dodge Ram, and 15-year-old Kayla Adkinson of Holton.

ISP's written account of what happened doesn't indicate which truck Adkinson was riding in.

For some reason, investigators say, Bowman and the other driver didn't stop at the intersection. A stop sign lay on the ground after the crash, the impact of which sent both trucks into a corn field about 100 feet away. State police believe the white Dodge Ram truck hit Bowman's in the driver's side door.

Those who died were all wearing their seatbelts.

The 17-year-old driver of the Dodge Ram sustained some broken ribs and a bruised lung and was released from the hospital as was Cumberworth. Adkinson is still in the hospital with a broken pelvis. Officials say she might be out tomorrow.

"You send your kids off to school and the next thing you know they're gone," said Carla Miller, the cousin of Jacob Vogel's father. She says the family is devastated. Adding to their anguish is the fact that news of the students' deaths were so quickly posted on Facebook by classmates.

"And it's just, it's heartbreaking because so many people knew before these parents were told," Miller said, crying.

Vogel's older brother is a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton in Southern California. Miller said the Red Cross was helping get him home, perhaps as early as tonight, for his little brother's funeral.

This community in Ripley County had already been reeling from the deaths of two other students --- one earlier this school year, the other last year.

"So you know, it's tough to deal with at times like this," said Rob Lafary, a substitute teacher at South Ripley High School and a Vogel family friend. "You just have to continue to have faith. But at the same time you begin to question, you know, why do we have to go through this as a community?"

"Why?" is a question on a lot of people's minds tonight as investigators continue to look for answers about what was going on before this deadly crash.

Funeral arrangements for the three victims are as follows:

Jacob Vogel
Visitation will be held on Monday, March 11 from 5-9 p.m. at the Versailles Baptist Church.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, March 12 at 1 p.m. at St. Charles Catholic Church.

Samantha Hansen
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, March 12 from 5-9 p.m. at the Hopewell Baptist Church. Funeral services will also be held at Hopewell Baptist Church on Wednesday, March 13 at 10:30 a.m.

(Timothy) Curtis Bowman
Visitation will be held on Monday, March11 from 4-8 p.m. at Hopewell Baptist Church. Funeral services will also be held at Hopewell Baptist Church on Tuesday, March 12 at 10:30 a.m.

Memorials may also be given in honor of each teen.

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