Brooksville pastor's son killed in crash en route to church

Gloria Gomez reports

- One teen lost his life and two others were injured after troopers say they blew through a stop sign and were involved in a violent wreck Wednesday evening.

It happened around 7 p.m. in the intersection of Powell and Culbreath roads as the boys were on their way to Brooksville Christian Church.

A post on the Brooksville Christian Church Facebook page identified them as 15-year-old Jaret Harshman, 17-year-old Michael Miller -- both Wesley Chapel High School students -- and 18-year-old Ryan Miller.

“As many of you may have heard, Jaret Harshman, Ryan and Michael Miller were in a car accident tonight on their way to church. It is with great sorrow to tell you that Jaret has gone home to be with the Lord. Please keep the Harshmans in prayer for strength and comfort,” the post reads in part.  “Please keep the Miller family in your prayers as well. These boys were close friends and brothers. Our hearts are breaking over this loss and we pray for these families that God will bring them peace and comfort.”

Mike Harshman, Jaret's father and a minister at the church, drove up to the crash scene 20 minutes after it happened.

"This is your worst nightmare.  You don't think anything like this would happen," he said.  "They had already taken our son and one of the other boys was there and you can tell it was bad."

The Florida Highway Patrol says the crash happened after the teens' Chevy Aveo ran a stop sign on Culbreath Road and was hit by a SUV in the intersection with Powell Road.

Their vehicle spun onto the shoulder and ended up crashing into a light pole before it came to a stop.

All three teens were wearing a seatbelt but Jaret was badly hurt.  He was airlifted to a local hospital, where he later passed away.

The popular student was in his first year running cross-country on the varsity team. His teammate and friend James Mills says the team got the news this morning.

"We all just cried about it," he sobbed.  "It was that hard on us to where we didn't know what to say."

Some students and staff decided to go home and mourn in private.  Others talked to grief counselors trying to make sense of it all.

Mike Harshman says the love and support for his son has been overwhelming. His Facebook page is filled with condolences and heartbreak.

"We are finding out his story. He obviously touched a lot of lives that means a lot to us," Harshman said.

There is video of Jaret on his Facebook page taking part in an ice bucket challenge last August. Mike says his son had just gotten his drivers permit and was excited about following his dad's footsteps in the church.

"I think what he wanted to do down the road he wanted to go into youth ministry.  He wanted to work with kids," he added.  "I think his life was very special and he made an impact in the time he was here."
 

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