The Franklin County School community is mourning the sudden and tragic loss of a beloved student, a popular cheerleader, who died in an automobile accident Monday afternoon in Eastpoint.
According to a release put out by the Florida Highway Patrol, an unnamed 15-year-old female from Eastpoint was driving a 2011 Toyota Rav4 south on State Road 65 at about 3:09 p.m. when the accident occurred.
School officials have confirmed the female driver was Hayley Creamer, who was set to begin the school year next week as a sophomore, and embark on her second year as a varsity cheerleader.
The FHP release said Creamer’s vehicle approached the intersection with US 98 at the same time that a Mack dump truck, driven by Keith Dickerson, 52, of Panama City, was traveling west on US-98 approaching the same intersection.
Creamer’s vehicle began to reduce speed in an attempt to turn left onto US-98, read the FHP news release.
“The driver failed to yield while entering the intersection and traveled into the immediate path of the approaching (truck),” it said.
The resulting crash also involved two other vehicles traveling east on 98, each attempting to make a left turn to head north on State Road 65. A 2018 Ford 250 driven by Rex Shiver, 50, of Tallahassee, and a 2017 Land Rover, driven by Karen Shiver, 47, of Tallahassee, were both impacted by the collision between Creamer’s vehicle and the dump truck, with the Land Rover forced into hitting a tree. Neither driver nor Dickerson sustained serious injury.
Creamer’s vehicle became completely engulfed in flames, which were extinguished by a crew from the Eastpoint Volunteer Fire Department. Creamer was pronounced dead, on scene, by Weems Memorial Hospital paramedics.
Superintendent Traci Moses said that this week grief counselors from Wakulla and Gulf counties would be on campus to assist staff, and would be on campus to work with students upon their arrival back to school next week.
“Our faculty and staff are definitely in shock and my heart goes out to the family,” she said. “Hayley was very well-loved among her peers and she will be greatly missed.”
In addition, a 1-year-old black Labrador Retriever named Bud disappeared from Dickerson's truck after the fatal accident. Within a day it had been recovered from the woods and returned to its rightful owner, Dickerson's 13-year-old stepson.
The Florida Highway Patrol was assisted by Franklin County Sheriff A..J. Smith and deputies from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, who were instrumental assisting with the immediate on-scene action as well as next of kin notification. Additionally, officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission responded and assisted.
Smith said his department, and the entire community, is devastated by the tragic accident. Both of Creamer's parents work for the sheriff's office, mom Stephanie in dispatch, and dad Wesley, a former Apalachicola policeman, as a deputy.