Lakota East 2022 graduate killed in crash that left 3 Indiana State University students dead, 2 hurt

Former Lakota East Football Player Dead in Indiana Crash
Published: Aug. 21, 2022 at 6:09 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2022 at 6:22 AM EDT
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LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WXIX) - A Lakota East High School 2022 graduate and football player is among three Indiana State University students killed and two hurt in a crash in Indiana early Sunday, Lakota officials confirmed Sunday.

Caleb VanHooser was in his first year at the university, Lakota East High School Principal Rob Burnside wrote in a message Sunday night to students, parents and staff.

The teen was a newcomer to ISU’s football team, which notes on its roster he lined up at both defensive back and wide receiver at Lakota East under Coach Rick Hiens:

“Helped lead a stout defense that only let up 15.0 points per game. A star not only on the football field, he also ran track during his time at Lakota East, posting a 100-meter time of 11.4 during a meet earlier this year.”

Counselors will be at Lakota East High School Monday to help students, coaches, teachers and staff cope with the tragic loss, according to the principal.

“It is with deep sadness that I am writing to share that Caleb VanHooser, a 2022 Lakota East graduate, has passed away tragically as a result of an automobile accident near Terre Haute, IN. Caleb recently started his freshman year at Indiana State University,” Burnside’s message reads.

“He was a young man with a larger-than-life personality and an infectious smile. Our thoughts are with his friends and family as they grieve this heartbreaking loss.

“This news is sure to raise many emotions, concerns and questions for some of our staff and students. Lakota Local Schools has a Crisis Intervention Team made up of counselors and other trained professionals to help with the needs of students, parents and school personnel at difficult times such as these. The team will be available for our students at our main campus on Monday.

“Our school community is built on caring relationships. My top priority has been and continues to be the care and support of every student. It’s important that we help support each other in the coming days. Please let me know if there is anything my team and I can do to support your child.”

According to a story by The Associated Press, the single-vehicle crash killed two other people and occurred around 1:30 a.m.

Indiana State University said in a Facebook post on Sunday there were five people total in the vehicle, including several football players.

“This is a terrible tragedy,” ISU President Dr. Deborah J. Curtis said in the post. “As we are waiting on additional details from authorities investigating this accident, our hearts go out to the families and friends of the students involved.”

Caleb majored in biology, is the son of Amanda and Roscoe Bright of Liberty Township and several other members of his family also are talented athletes, according to his biography on ISU’s website.

His father lined up on the football team at Edinboro University, his uncle (Mike Bright) played basketball at Buckell University and his cousin (Mike Bright Jr.) lines up on the Bucknell football team.

Counselors also will be at Indiana State Monday to help students and staff cope with the loss.

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