Saline County says prayers for 17-year-old killed in car wreck

BENTON - With heavy hearts and misty eyes, hundreds in Saline County showed strength and sadness together over the death of 17-year-old Drew Melton.

She was killed in Bryant after a car accident with four of her friends this morning at about one o'clock. The teenagers were traveling down Northlake Road when the driver lost control and hit a tree. For that story, click here.

On Wednesday night a prayer circle on the Benton High School football field brought together friends, family, and strangers as they mourned the loss of the popular Benton High School student-athlete.

"Drew truly loved everyone and everyone loved drew," said Susan Jacobs, her mother.

Everyone who hugged Jacobs Wednesday knew her daughter was special with a bright future ahead. According to her obituary, she had plans to attend the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in the fall.

"It's hard," she said. "And on top of that she was beautiful inside and out, and I think this [prayer circle] shows that."

In front of a sea of support, Drew's grieving father, Ted Melton, found new reasons to be proud of his favorite Benton shortstop.

"She's turning a double play in heaven right now," he said, standing in the middle of the prayer circle.

Melton embraced long-time friends and thanked them for their prayers, while Drew's friends held on to each other and their faith in God.

"Even though we have ups and downs," said Morgan Priddy, of Bryant, "God is always here no matter what."

The emotion was overwhelming for Susan Jacobs who still prays for others while countless people will pray for her.

"The young girls and boys that were in the cars with Drew," she said, "I want the best out to them and I'm going to pray for them."

The proud, tearful mother said she's thankful for all the support the community has shown her and her family through a horrific day.

"I love you Drew," she said, before being embraced by family. "We all love you."

Friends are selling wristbands in the Saline County area for $5, with proceeds going toward the costs of Drew Melton's funeral.

Police are investigating the factors that may have lead to the crash, including speed.

For Melton's Obituary, click here.