Indiana schoolboy struggles to speak as he recalls surviving prom night crash that killed two pals


A teenager who survived a prom night crash that killed two of his friends struggled to speak as he recalled the horrific collision.

Jaxon Smith was repeatedly overcome with emotion while discussing Saturday’s smash in Arcadia Indiana, which killed his old friend Kalen Hart, 18, and her boyfriend Lendon Byram.

He displayed his injuries – including a badly swollen foot, as well as a bruised and grazed leg, while recalling the accident with WTHR. 

Smith, who says he cannot remember taking photos before leaving, or the smash itself, added: ‘Got a concussion, a cut on my upper lip. 

‘I think maybe my right rotator cuff is torn.’

Jaxon Smith struggled to speak as he was interviewed about Saturday's prom night crash in Indiana that killed his friend Kalen Smith and Smith's boyfriend  Lendon Byram

Jaxon Smith struggled to speak as he was interviewed about Saturday’s prom night crash in Indiana that killed his friend Kalen Smith and Smith’s boyfriend  Lendon Byram 

Explaining the emotional impact of the smash, which happened before the four friends even arrived at Hamilton Heights High School for the party, Smith had to pause again as he said: ‘Kalen is one of my best friends, and I – I don’t know. It’s going to be hard. 

‘I remember bits and pieces of the accident. I remember certain sequences, I remember the other girl asking me to get out of the car.’

It is unclear if Smith was referring to Hart, who died, or his own girlfriend, who was in the back of the car with him, and also survived.

Smith, a senior at Hamilton Heights High, said he feels lucky to have survived the horrific smash, which remains under investigation.  

‘I shouldn’t be walking today,’ he said. ‘I shouldn’t be talking to you right now, but I am. God has a plan for me.’ 

Paying tribute to Hart, who attended Hamilton Heights High and Byram, who was a junior at Cathedral High School, Smith added: ‘They were good people.’ He said Hart was like a sister to him, adding: ‘They didn’t deserve what happened.’

Police are still investigating the crash that occurred in Arcadia Saturday night, but said it didn't initially appear as if alcohol or drugs played a role in the wreck

Police are still investigating the crash that occurred in Arcadia Saturday night, but said it didn’t initially appear as if alcohol or drugs played a role in the wreck

The crash occurred when an SUV crashed into the Honda carrying the four teenagers, with the prom canceled when news of the tragedy broke. 

Byram, a junior at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, was driving the Honda at the time.

The SUV driver was also a high school student but they declined medical treatment. Authorities haven’t released the name of that driver, but say they do not believe drugs or alcohol was a factor in the fatal smash. 

Both of the cars ended up in a field as a result of the crash. 

Investigators have since reconstructed the weekend accident, according to WHAS, and they mapped out both cars’ locations using a drone.

Now, the authorities are looking at event data recorders from both cars to determine each driver’s speed, when they hit their brakes and other driving habits. 

Smith does not even remember taking prom pictures before the crash.

One thing he does remember, though, is one of the other girls telling him to get out of the car.

‘This will be with me to the day I die,’ Smith said.

Kalen Hart, 18, and her boyfriend Lendon Byram died in the crash. They are pictured above posing for photos shortly before getting into the car that crashed and killed them

Kalen Hart, 18, and her boyfriend Lendon Byram died in the crash. They are pictured above posing for photos shortly before getting into the car that crashed and killed them 

Hart and Byram had been dating since the beginning of the year.

The couple had been visiting Hart’s father and posed for photos together in their prom outfits before they headed to her mother’s house. 

The crash occurred on the way. 

Hart’s devastated mother, Jody Bartrom Conaway, wrote on Facebook that she didn’t even get to see her daughter in her prom dress.

‘My 18-year-old daughter, along with her boyfriend, were killed in an automobile accident on her way to prom,’ she wrote on Facebook. 

Hart's devastated mother, Jody Bartrom Conaway, wrote on Facebook that she didn't even get to see her daughter in her prom dress. The couple had been visiting Hart's father and posed for photos together in their prom outfits before they headed to her mother's house. The crash occurred on the way

Hart’s devastated mother, Jody Bartrom Conaway, wrote on Facebook that she didn’t even get to see her daughter in her prom dress. The couple had been visiting Hart’s father and posed for photos together in their prom outfits before they headed to her mother’s house. The crash occurred on the way

Hart and Byram, pictured above together, had been dating since the beginning of the year

Hart and Byram, pictured above together, had been dating since the beginning of the year

In an emotional interview with WTHR , Hart's mom Jody Conaway, pictured, said: 'There are so many people that loved her. While my heart is breaking, my heart hurts for them as well'

In an emotional interview with WTHR , Hart’s mom Jody Conaway, pictured, said: ‘There are so many people that loved her. While my heart is breaking, my heart hurts for them as well’

‘I didn’t even get to see my baby girl in her prom dress. I love you so much, Kalen Rae! I am so proud of the young woman you were becoming. Rest easy my baby girl.’

In an emotional interview with WTHR, Conaway said: ‘There are so many people that loved her. While my heart is breaking, my heart hurts for them as well.

She described her daughter’s boyfriend as ‘sweet and respectful’. 

‘I really felt like he was one of the best things that ever happened to Kalen for a while…we will miss him at our house. We will miss him,’ Conaway said. 

Superintendent Derek Arrowood issued a statement following the fatal crash saying that all prom-related activities would be canceled. 

‘We share our heartfelt condolences to the families of the students impacted by this tragedy,’ Arrowood said. 

‘No one expects something like this to happen, and when it does, it leaves an entire community grieving. Please keep these families and our students in your thoughts and prayers.’ 

Multiple vigils were held for the two teenagers over the weekend and online fundraising sites set up to help cover the costs of the funerals have already raised more than $23,000.

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