Incoming student editor dies in car wreck
OCCC student Ethan Wayne Hendricks, 19, of Mustang, died about 2:10 a.m. Aug. 8, in a head-on collision on State Highway 74B southeast of Blanchard in McClain County, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported.
Hendricks was a sophomore majoring in journalism.
He served as senior writer for the Pioneer and would have become editor at the beginning of the fall semester.
Rachel Newell, pre-med major, said she saw Hendricks almost every day when she and her friends chatted with him in the campus Coffee Shop.
“It was ‘the table,’ where our group of friends sat, laughed and talked,” Newell said.
Because the Pioneer office was located right above the Coffee Shop at the time, she said, Hendricks would often send her lighthearted text messages in which he warned he was watching her from above.
She said she will miss how easily Hendricks affected the people he was around.
“He could always brighten your day,” Newell said.
“He was always so happy. He was one of the best friends I’ve ever had. I love that kid.”
Another student, Leasle Crawford, said she also remembers free time spent with Hendricks at the Coffee Shop.
“I miss him,” Crawford said. “He always had a smile on his face, laughing and talking about random things.
“He was a wonderful young man,” she said. “I was lucky to have met him.”
Pioneer faculty adviser Sue Hinton said Hendricks’ death is a tragedy.
“It’s heartbreaking to lose a young person so full of promise,” Hinton said.
She too noted that Hendricks was personable and friendly.
“He was also hard-working,” Hinton said. “Ethan would stay in the Pioneer office late into the evening to finish a story assignment.”
She said Hendricks was curious about happenings on campus and would come back to the office with good story ideas for the Pioneer.
The accident report shows Hendricks was driving eastbound when his 1991 Honda Accord crossed the centerline while topping a hill, striking a 2009 Chevy pickup, causing the truck to overturn and come to rest on its top.
Hendricks died at the scene from massive injuries.
Pickup driver Frank Mayfield, 44, of Blanchard, was treated and released from Norman Regional Hospital.
Both drivers were wearing seatbelts, the report said, but Hendricks’ car was not equipped with airbags.
Hendricks’ funeral service was held Aug. 11 at the First Baptist Church in Mustang. He was buried at Red Hill Cemetery in Mustang.
Survivors include his parents, Wayne and Michelle Hendricks of Mustang; two brothers, Philip and Elliott; two sisters, Amber and Hannah; fiancée, Birgit Self of Blanchard; paternal grandparents, F.W. “Dub” and B.J. Hendricks of San Antonio, Texas; and maternal grandparents, Jake Elliott of Houston and Virginia Elliott of San Antonio. Hendricks was preceded in death by his maternal grandmother, Betty Elliott.
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