The tight-knit community of Valley is trying to come to terms with the death of one of its own, an 18-year-old man who was killed in a single-car rollover accident.
Jacob D. Dickmeyer, a former multisport high school athlete, was declared dead at the crash scene Monday at 208th Street and West Dodge Road. His friend Colby M. Burke, 19, was seriously injured.
Erin Korene, 18, knew both men and, like Dickmeyer, was a 2012 graduate of Douglas County West High School.
Korene said Tuesday that within hours of the accident, a memorial cross with Christmas lights was erected at the crash site.
She said Valley was taking the loss hard.
“We're all sticking together for support,'' she said. “It's the worst feeling in the world.''
Korene said she would remember Dickmeyer's sense of humor.
“And he could make anyone laugh,'' she said.
Korene said she and other Valley friends and acquaintances were making T-shirts, bracelets and hoodies to raise money for the Dickmeyer and Burke families. She said a fundraiser was in the works.
A candlelight vigil is planned tonight from 7 to 10 in the Douglas County West High School parking lot, she said.
Dan Schnoes, superintendent of Douglas County West Community Schools, said Dickmeyer and Burke, a 2011 graduate, participated in football, baseball and wrestling.
Schnoes had high praise for both.
“He was a very respectful young man,'' he said of Dickmeyer, “an all-around nice kid.''
The school of 200 to 250 students was doing its best to cope, Schnoes said, with a crisis team brought in for students and teachers.
He said the best way to help the students was to “get them back into their routines, like going to class.''
“In a small community like ours, everybody knows everybody,'' Schnoes said. “It affects all of them and our staff, too.''
Omaha police investigators were trying to determine who was driving the gold 2004 Saturn.
Police said speed and alcohol were factors in the crash. Dickmeyer was thrown from the car.
Burke was taken to the Nebraska Medical Center with a broken pelvis and a head injury. He was in fair condition Tuesday.
Witnesses told investigators that the Saturn was speeding and making multiple lane changes as it headed east on West Dodge Road about 1:15 a.m.
At 208th Street, the car veered off the roadway and into the median during a sudden lane change, witnesses said. The Saturn entered the westbound lanes of West Dodge and rolled several times, coming to rest in the median.
Neither occupant was wearing a seat belt, police said.
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