VIENNA — Vienna High School on Monday planned to honor the life of a fourth teenager to die from injuries sustained in a rural Johnson County vehicle accident a little over a month ago.
Max Koehler, 15, of rural Vienna, died at 6:49 a.m. on Thursday morning at Evelyn’s House — BJC Hospice, in Creve Coeur, Missouri, according to his obituary.
“Certainly, Max's passing is a sad loss for our community, but we rejoice in the great memories that so many had with Max,” Vienna High Superintendent Josh Stafford said in a community email message Sunday evening.
Stafford said the high school would acknowledge Koehler’s memory during the start of the school day Monday morning. School counseling staff is available to anyone who needs them, he added.
Stafford asked students, teachers and staff to wear Cardinals gear to school on Tuesday “as that was one of Max’s favorite teams.”
He will be further honored with a balloon lift on Dec. 7, which would mark his 16th birthday.
A total of six teenagers were riding in the vehicle when it crashed in the early morning hours of Sunday, Oct. 25 in Ozark. The teens were traveling westbound on Ozark Road near Locust Road when their vehicle ran off the roadway and struck a tree, according to the Illinois State Police.
The Johnson County community and beyond is rallying behind Southern Illinois families reeling from a fatal early Sunday morning crash that left three teenagers dead and three teenagers in critical condition fighting for their lives in St. Louis hospitals.
The driver of the vehicle, Jordan Davidson, 18, of Goreville, died in the crash, as did 17-year-old Brayden King and 15-year-old Aidan Baker, both of Vienna.
Three others, including Koehler, were airlifted to St. Louis area hospitals for treatment.
Dylan Harris, of Vienna, and Macie Turvold, of Harrisburg, have been released from care and returned home; they are expected to fully recover, Stafford said.
Private services have already been held for Koehler. According to his obituary, provided by Bailey Funeral Home, Koehler is remembered as a “loving and compassionate person.”
“When the leap day tornado of 2012 devastated parts of Harrisburg and Saline County, Max asked his parents if he could donate the entire contents of his piggy bank to help because, as he said, ‘they needed it more than he did,’” the obituary read.
On Twitter: @MollyParkerSI