Teen killed when tractor overturns on Hastings farm
18-year-old was senior at Menendez High School
An 18-year-old Menendez High School senior died early Wednesday morning when a tractor he was driving on a potato farm off State Road 206 overturned on him.
Officials say Jerad Revels (pictured, right) died when the tractor slid off a dirt road and overturned in an irrigation ditch, pinning him underneath.
The accident occurred just after 7:30 a.m. on the William Revels Farms off Cowpen Branch Road, near State Road 206. A family member in a second tractor noticed Jerad Revel's tractor in the ditch and called 911 and called other family members to the scene, but they could not move the tractor.
A Fire Rescue spokesman said the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
"At this time, it's not been determined if the road gave way, or if there was some type of issue with the tractor," SJCFR spokesman Matthew Sara said.
A traffic homicide detective with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office was handling the investigation, but the Occupational Health and Safety Administration may also investigate the fatality.
Revels was driving the tractor on his family's farm doing some work before heading to school, just as he did every day, when the accident happened.
Those at Revels' school described him as an outgoing and well-liked young man. That appeared obvious by the groups of people who gathered Wednesday at his family's home, just a half-mile from the family's farm.
IMAGES: Teen dies in tractor accident
"It's a family business, and we're a very tight-knit community, so it's a loss not just to his family but the community as well," family friend Rebekah Barnes said. "I've known him since he was about this big, and we've watched him grow up and he was a hard worker."
Dozens of students checked out of school early. For those who stayed, grief counselors were on hand all day.
"He was a son, he was a grandson, he was a brother and he was a boyfriend, and he was a friend of many, many kids at Pedro (Menendez), and he will be very missed by everybody that knew him," Barnes said.
Revels (pictured on left in senior photo provided by the school) is the second senior at Pedro Menendez to die this week. Ryan Ford (pictured on right) died Saturday after investigators said he was beaten at a bonfire in the woods in Jacksonville [Related story].
Principal Clay Carmichael said it's a lot for anyone to handle.
"I'm really struggling with it, especially when you get around your own family and you try, unimaginably try to put yourself in that family's place, and I don't know how they do it," he said. "I know they're a good group of people, but it's tough for me.
As Carmichael tries to remind his teachers and students that grieving is a natural process, he said recalling the good memories of the Revels on Wednesday helped everyone out.
"I think one time he even tried to pay off his parking pass with a crate of tomatoes," Carmichael said. "A lot of fun, and I hope everybody remembers him that way."
The school's website has posted a tribute to both teens, calling them two "fallen Falcons" -- the school's mascot. On the site there are links to grief information and tips for parents.
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