Ozark Christian College President Matt Proctor expressed condolences Saturday morning on OCC’s website by stating:
“It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to inform you that one of our students, Jace Smothers, was killed Friday in an accident near Paducah, Kentucky. Jace was serving on staff with Christ In Youth this summer, and the CIY van in which he was riding was rear ended by an 18-wheeler.”
It was a multi-vehicle crash on I-24 in Kentucky. According to the Kentucky State Police Smothers died on the scene.
Media reports from Clarksville Now online of Clarksville, TN, state that “The semi-truck collided with the [CIY] van causing the chain of events that left multiple injuries. Eye witness accounts saw the 18-wheeler, van, at least one car, and two motorcycles involved.” Click here for images from the scene.
Smothers had just completed his freshman year at Ozark Christian College in Joplin. He is from Norton, Kansas.
“Another Ozark student, Brandon Musselman, escaped with minor injuries. The three other CIY interns in the van—Katie Danhour, Andie Montgomery, and Tyler Conway—are also in stable condition,” President Proctor also stated.
CIY, Christ In Youth, a Joplin-based national youth ministry organization expressed condolences on their website, “Without question, this is one of the saddest moments in our history. Jace had just completed his first year at Ozark Christian College as a youth ministry major and was mentoring kids in the Joplin community through the organization YoungLife. While serving as a CIY summer Event Staff member, Jace made a profound impact on everyone he came in contact with.”