December 30, 2015 Edition

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Boy dies after ATV accident

Gretchen Hunt

An ATV accident near Alicia on Dec. 23 resulted in the death of a 16-year-old boy, according to the Lawrence Count Sheriff's Department.

Lawrence County deputies responded to the scene. According to the report, the 16-year-old juvenile was driving the ATV and had 22-year-old Hugo Flores as a passenger.

The boy, identified by family as Jacob Levi Howard of Alicia, was taken to St. Bernards in Jonesboro, where he later died.

Jacob's brother-in-law, Johnathan Hewitt, said Jacob was pretty much a brother to him.

"He was a very great and considerate and happy boy that could steal anyone's heart the minute he met them," Hewitt said.

A former Westside School student, Jacob was working on obtaining his GED through the BRTC Adult Education Program at Walnut Ridge.

His father, James Howard, wrote a letter, which was shared on Facebook and has been submitted to The Times Dispatch.

He expressed his thanks to all for their prayers, thoughts and donations. He also explained that the tragedy is two-fold as his wife and Jacob's mother, Jamey, is in the ICU burn unit at The Med and is not aware that the accident has occurred.

"She won't be awake for another week or two because of the severity of her burns," he wrote. "I will get to relive this all over again when she comes to ... When the accident happened with her I thought it could not get much worse, boy was I wrong."

James, who Jacob called The Old Man, shares in his letter the importance of living each day to the fullest, making good memories and tells parents to "hug your kids whenever you can and never let go."

He recounted the night of the accident saying, "It was the longest drive of my life, even 110 mph to get him there wasn't fast enough. We got onto the bypass in Bono. I felt my little buddy leave this world…"

According to James' letter, Jacob's lower ribs and pelvic bones were crushed, and he died from internal bleeding.

A Go Fund Me account in Jacob Howard's name has been established to help with funeral expenses. More than $1,000 was raised in the first two days, and donations are still being accepted.

Throughout his letter James expresses the importance of time.

"No matter how big and bad we think we are time will put you on your knees and slap you around like a grain of sand in water," he wrote. "If anyone gets anything from me rambling on, get this: We do break, bleed and die. Take advantage of every second."

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