PILOT MOUNTAIN — Every student who stepped out of their car in front of East Surry High School Monday morning briefly looked into the crowd filling the area around the flagpole in front of the school and solemnly fell in along beside classmates and faculty during a ceremony held in memory of sophomore Jacob Pettitt.
The 15-year old died Sunday at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital Medical Center. He had been in critical condition since a Sept. 3 car crash. According hospital officials, Pettitt’s passenger, Darragh Boutis, 39, has been released from the facility.
The viewing for Pettitt is scheduled for Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m., with the funeral set for Sunday at 2 p.m. Both services are at Fairview United Methodist Church at 3692 Quaker Church Road in Pinnacle.
According to North Carolina Highway Patrol Sgt. M.W. Whitener, a 2010 Nissan Maxima being operated by Pettitt was traveling east on Old Westfield Road at around 8:40 p.m. on Sept. 3 when it appears to have run off the right side of the road. The teen was operating the vehicle under a learner’s permit.
Reportedly, Pettitt over-corrected and ran off the left side of the road, striking a tree in a T-bone type of collision on the passenger side of the Maxima. Boutis was described as a family friend.
Pettitt and Boutis each had to be extricated from the vehicle by Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad members on the scene. Two AirCare helicopters, which landed on East’s baseball field, were summoned and both victims were transferred from the scene by AirCare.
Surry County Schools officials said Pettitt was a player on the Cardinals soccer team and was leaving a soccer match at the school when the accident occurred.
A groundswell of support locally recently culminated in a drive in support of Pettitt and his family with more than 160 families, businesses and individuals responding.
According to Ladies In Prayer Serving (LIPS) spokesperson Heather Torry, an initial printing of 600 T-shirts supporting the family and prayer in schools quickly were given out with 2,000 more being printed. Torry said the effort was spearheaded by the firm of Chelli & Associates in Pilot Mountain. All donations went to support the Pettitt family.
In addition, the Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad recently responded to the aid of Pettitt and Boutis.
Several weeks following the Sept. 3 wreck when Boutis needed help, the rescue squad responded again, partnering with the Pilot Mountain Civic Club and Discount Builders and Supply Company of Pilot Mountain to build a wheelchair ramp for Boutis, who has returned home.
Boutis needs ramp access to her home until she is able to walk with out assistance of crutches or a wheelchair.
On Sept. 17, members of the rescue squad constructed a ramp into Boutis’ home on Gordon Court in Pilot Mountain, using supplies partially donated by Discount Builders and Supply Company. The Pilot Mountain Civic Club paid for the remaining costs of the ramp, and also made a $500 contribution to the Boutis family to assist with expenses.
“We are encouraging other groups, businesses and individuals to do anything that you can for these families,” said Civic Club President Homer Dearmin. “They will need a lot of community support over the next several weeks. Every prayer and every dollar will go a long way for each of these families. We want others to join us in supporting the families affected by this accident.”