WESLEY CHAPEL (FOX 13) - Hundreds of students and faculty at Wesley Chapel High School gathered Friday evening to remember a 15-year-old student who died in a car accident earlier in the week.
Jaret Harshman will be remembered as someone who touched a countless number of lives, his friends said during a vigil on the school's track, where Jaret spent a lot of time as a runner on the varsity cross country team.
"I just can't believe he's gone and it hurts badly," said Zach Novo, one of Jaret's close friends.
Jaret was in a car Wednesday with two friends, Michael and Ryan Miller. They were headed to Brooksville Christian Church, where Jaret's father is the pastor.
The car ran a stop sign and crashed into another vehicle. Jaret was killed, the Miller brothers are recovering in the hospital.
During the vigil, Jaret's friends spoke about how much they'll miss him.
"He inspired everybody to do their best and be their best," D.J. Hahn said afterward. "I just want everybody to know that a bright, spirited person is in heaven."
"I just loved him a lot," Novo added. "He was like a best friend to me, my brother and I was just very happy every time I saw him, had a smile on his face, very energetic, very funny. It's just, it hurts now that he's gone."
After several students spoke to the crowd, Jaret's father, Mike Harshman, thanked everyone for their kind words and said he hadn't realized how Jaret had inspired so many people in such a short time.
"We're just kind of humbled and just kind of blown away by the fact that his life touched so many people," he said.
The vigil ended with the entire crowd, led by the cross country team, walking a lap around the track. The team then handed Jaret's family a banner filled with messages about Jaret.
A spokesperson for Pasco County Schools said she's never seen so many people seek counseling following a student's death; she said as many 50 students and a dozen teachers asked to talk to a counselor.