Minerva schools cope with loss of student

NEGLEY – With the Calcutta Volunteer Fire Department mourning the loss of two of its own, the Minerva Local School District is coming to grips with the loss of a student.

Addisyn Benzel, 11, who was a passenger in the Chevrolet Equinox struck head-on Sunday on state Route 518, was a fifth grader at Minerva Elementary.

District Superintendent Joseph Chaddock said the district will have multiple counselors on hand this week for grieving students, staff and their family members.

Counselors include those already employed by the school and those provided by Pathway and community services, and the Stark County Crisis Team.

“She was a great kid. It’s a huge loss. Obviously our prayers are with the family. It’s just a sad tragedy,” he said.

Benzel was involved in youth basketball.

Chaddock called a staff meeting before school today to address the situation. School was not in session Monday due to the holiday.

The highway patrol is continuing to investigate the accident that happened after a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Rachel Lindesmith of Hanoverton reportedly went left of center and head-on into the Equinox driven by Jamie Nign of East Liverpool.

Nign, his wife Meghann and Benzel did not survive the crash. Benzel was seated in the cargo area of the Equinox and was the only occupant who was ejected.

The Nigns were volunteer firefighters and Meghann Nign also was employed with North Star Critical Care.

Patrol Sgt. Craig Monte told another news outlet that district investigators have been called in to assist with interviews and a professional crash-reconstruction team is going over details of the crash. The patrol is also using its Columbus-based photographic services unit.

According to reports, no charges have been filed against Lindesmith at this point and what caused the Jeep to go left of center has not been determined.